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Khajinba intends more separation from Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 6
De-facto President of the occupied Abkhazia Raul Khajimba is planning to fortify an administrative border with Georgia that will result in restricted access between the two areas and reduce the number of checkpoints from five to one.

A statement concerning the plan was voiced by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti on October 4.

"Only one checkpoint should operate on the state border with Georgia, along the Enguri River. Taking into account the security of our state, all other checkpoints should be closed,” Khajimba said.

Khajimba, who was just elected as president of the occupied region has always been known for his anti-Georgian attitudes.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili states that the initiative does not support improving the relations between Georgians and Abkhazians.

He stressed that the Georgian sides does its best to ensure positive relations with the region’s population, introducing a free-of-charge hospital near Abkhazia and a multi-function trade center.

State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili believes that the initiative, if it is realized, will significantly deteriorate the situation among the people across the administrative border.

“The checkpoints supported the development of human rights and security along the administrative border. Only one checkpoint’s operation will not be enough for people crossing the line,” Zakareishvili said. He stressed that the decision might not be final owing to the large amount of people crossing the administrative border in a daily manner.

Government of Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia’s representative in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Jemal Gogokhia informs that thousands of people cross the administrative borders each day.

"If the de-facto government closes the checkpoints it will negatively affect the relations of people, Gogokhia said.

Currently, one central and four surrounding checkpoints operate along the administrative border of Abkhazia including Khurcha, Orsantia, Saberio and Rukhi Bridge.

The five additional checkpoints opened in May 2013 in the Gali district. Resident of the Gali region can only use the checkpoint if they use Abkhazian and former Soviet passports.