Towards De facto Annexation of Abkhazia Approval of Common Economic Space Program
Tbilisi condemns creation of ‘common social-economic space’ between Russia and occupied Abkhazia
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, November 26
The de-facto presidential administration of Occupied Abkhazia stated on November 23 about the approval of a program to form a common social and economic space between Russia and occupied Abkhazia.
The statement issued by the administration of the unrecognized president of the occupied territories reads that the program was approved during the meeting of Russian President Putin and de-facto president of Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania on November 12 and it aims to harmonize Abkhazian legislation with the Russian in fields of economy and finance, customs law, energy, and social issues. Occupied Abkhazia says it’s ‘logical extension of the Alliance and Strategic Partnership Agreement (2014) with Russia.
Program obliges Abkhaz side to make legislative and administrative amendments such as regulation of dual citizenship between occupied Sokhumi and Moscow, enactment of legal act on regular medicine services, provision of energy security of the region, and development of a law on an investment partnership.
The program also envisages simplification of the law procedures for the Russian investors in terms of obtaining a residence permit and registering work activities, harmonization of tax legislation with the Russian model, adoption of a law on the education system, and other important components gradually transforming Abkhaz ‘laws’ into an analog to the Russian legislation.
“The program aims to create the necessary conditions to ensure the full involvement of Abkhazia in the integration processes initiated and implemented by the Russian Federation,” reports Bzhania’s administration, adding that the deadline for the implementation is 2-3 years.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia assesses the program as another illegal step towards de facto annexation. According to the statement, the program serves the gradual integration of the integral regions of Georgia into the Russian military, political, economic, and social systems.
The ministry said that the so-called agreement on Alliance and Strategic Partnership between Russia and occupied Abkhazia signed back in 2014 and all documents and programs made per the agreement are unlawful and contradict international law.
“With such provocative steps and the tools of hybrid warfare, the Russian Federation grossly violates the fundamental norms and principles of international law, violates Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and poses a serious threat to peace and security in the region,” announced MFA.
The agency calls on the Russian Federation to stop destructive actions, fulfill its obligations under the EU-brokered ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, withdraw its troops from Georgian territory, and not interfere in international security.