Relations between Abkhazia independent Georgian territory made since 1992 and the Nagorno Karabakh have reached a new level with the decision of the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry, reported by a Russian news agency, signed an agreement with Artsakh to remove the visa regime between the two territories.
This follows the announcement in early February by the Abkhaz government on simplification of visa regime from April 1 to citizens of countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and the South Ossetia after the blitzkrieg that it had waged against Georgia in August 2008 on behalf of the defense of the two breakaway territories, where it has since strengthened its military presence.
Russia has however not recognized Nagorno Karabakh any more that Armenia itself, which nevertheless supports the independence of Karabakh Armenians. The Abkhaz authorities plan to set up new border posts where visas will be issued, strict visa regime being provided to all countries that refuse to recognize the independence of the territory. The Abkhaz authorities believe that the new visa regime will help to regulate immigration.
At the same time, the press officer of the President of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh David Babayan, said that Artsakh welcomed the decision of Abkhazia. “I think this issue should not be politicized. I can say that we support the decision of Abkhazia. We want our citizens to have the opportunity to visit as many countries without having to carry a visa, “said Mr. Babayan, adding that this will help to strengthen and develop bilateral relations in the political, economic , culture and tourism.
M.Babayan took the opportunity to denounce Azerbaijan’s policy. “I would ask the authorities of Baku if they have introduced a visa regime with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and if Azerbaijani citizens need visas to get there. So why Baku does not condemn its own policy in this case? “Exclaimed Mr. Babayan. Abkhaz Minister of Foreign Affairs Kan Taniya announced that Abkhazia preparing the signing of an agreement on visa liberalization with Transnistria, Russian-speaking separatist region of Moldova, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh.
He justified this measure by relying on legislation on immigration procedure of the Republic of Abkhazia, which will take effect as of April 1. Under the law, only citizens of countries that have recognized the independence of Abkhazia and have bilateral agreements on abolition of visa regime will be free to enter the country. The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev reacted to this statement by saying that Azerbaijan supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. He also said his ministry called its citizens not to travel to the areas concerned, which are not under the control of the authorities of Georgia without the permission of the competent authorities of that country.
Gari © armenews.com