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New Abkhaz leader inaugurated

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, September 29
Raul Khajimba was inaugurated as the president of the Georgian breakaway republic of Abkhazia on September 25. Khajimba became the fourth president of Abkhazia and will serve a five-year term.

In his inauguration speech, Khajimba spoke of a need for unity, fundamental changes, the creation of an efficient government and constitutional reform, to provide for a better system of checks and balances.

Khajimba spoke about deepen integration with Russia and a new agreement solidifying the relationship between Abkhazia and Russia would be signed before the end of the year.

“Russia is the guarantor of security and independence for Abkhazia and of course our relations are not static,” stated Khajimba.

According to Khajimba, the signing of a new agreement between Russia and Abkhazia before the end of the year will be directed towards the deepening of integration.

“First and foremost, in the areas of defense, protection of the border, and expanding our economic capabilities,” he stated.

While talking about the economy, Khajimba said that the government should focus on fostering job creation, encouraging private initiatives, and the modernization of economy management.

Khajimba also spoke about ethnic minorities. He paid special attention to the lagging regions in eastern Abkhazia.

“Abkhazia is multi-national and we should value this wealth, provide genuine equality and mutual respect of various ethnic groups,” Khajimba said.

Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surov who attended the ceremony, stated that Abkhazia has carried out a difficult battle for its independence and recognition of its right to exist as a free country. ”Russia is completely in solidarity with this," stated Surov.

According to Surov, the signing of the agreement will be followed by the doubling of Moscow’s financial aid to Sokhumi.

“In line with this agreement we will gradually open the border and there will be no barrier for the movement of people and cargo. The planned agreement will strengthen interaction in the sphere of defense and law enforcement,” Surkov stated.

Out of the countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia, delegations from Venezuela and Nauru failed to visit the ceremony, the rest of them Russia, Transnistria, Nicaragua, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia were present.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia released the results of its presidential elections held on August 24th and announced that the former KGB officer and opposition leader won the election. Khajimba, who received around 51% of the votes, become the fourth de-facto president of the separatist region.

The result of the election, which was condemned by the Georgian government, was not internationally recognized.