Abkhazian passports issued to Georgians declared ‘invalid’

The issue will be discussed at the Geneva talks next week.
Agenda.ge, 13 Jun 2014 - 16:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

About 26,000 Georgians living in breakaway Abkhazia will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming de-facto presidential election after their passports were declared invalid by local leaders.

De-facto Abkhazian opposition leader Raul Khajimba said Georgians living in Gali, Tkvarcheli and Ochamchire districts were illegally granted Abkhazian passports by then-President Alexander Ankvab in 2013.

"These passports were issued by illegal commissions,” Khajimba said at a briefing yesterday.

"These people will not take part in the presidential elections until the problems regarding their passports are solved.”

Georgian authorities said the upcoming election in Abkhazia was not legitimate and they would not recognize its results, but feared declaring Georgian-allocated passports invalid violated the rights of Georgians living in Abkhazia.

"This decision might violate the right to live, right to move or other key rights of the ethnic Georgians who live in these three Abkazian districts,” said Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.

She claimed this issue would be discussed at the next Geneva Talks and Georgia would provide the international society with all necessary information.

Political experts in Georgia said this action could be assessed as hidden ethnic cleansing of Georgian in Abkhazia.

Expert Mamuka Areshidze said under Abkhazian law, non-Abkhazian citizens do not have the right to have private possessions.

"So this decision might cause the Georgians leaving in Abkhazia to leave their ancestor’s homes,” he said.

Abkhazia is one of two Georgian regions that are currently occupied by Russia.