President of breakaway Abkhazia to visit Turkey

December 16, 2009, Wednesday/ 17:50:00
The newly re-elected president of Abkhazia, an unrecognized breakaway region of Georgia, Sergei Bagapsh will pay a visit to Turkey soon, citing the need to reach out to members of the Abkhaz diaspora currently living in the country.

At a press conference following his landslide victory in the Abkhaz presidential elections, which Georgia labeled an “immoral comedy,” Bagapsh said he plans to make an informal trip to Turkey very soon. “I will have informal meetings with Turkish officials,” Bagapsh said.

Abkhazia has been a battleground for Russia since the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over the disputed region of South Ossetia. Russia immediately recognized the separatist regime and pushed its allies to act in the same vein. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru also have recognized Abkhazia as a sign of solidarity with Russia.

The president of Abkhazia said they also wish to make certain legal changes to make the Abkhaz diaspora in Turkey and the Middle East eligible to vote in the general elections.

Last Saturday’s election in Abkhazia was the first election since the Russian-Georgian war. The Abkhaz leader also said during the press conference that the normalization of relations with Georgia remains a low possibility. “We can only negotiate with a Georgian president who accepts the independence of Abkhazia,” Bagapsh emphasized.

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