TBILISI (Civil Georgia)–After 11 years of not operating–the railway connection between Moscow and Sokhumi–the capital of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia–resumed on September 10–despite protests from Georgia.
The rail link connecting Georgia and Russia ceased operating after Abkhazia seceded from Georgia in a violent conflict 11 years ago.
"With the restoration of the railway link–both Moscow and Sukhumi violate all the existing agreemen’s. This is nothing more but disrespect of the country’s [Georgia’s] sovereignty," Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolutions Goga Khaindrava said on Friday.
In December 2002 Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to re-open the link between the two countries via Sukhumi–with the Georgian side demanding return of the Georgian displaced persons to Abkhazia’s easternmost Gali region as a precondition
Claims of Pre-election Sabotage
Abkhazia’s Security Minister Mikhail Tarba accused Georgian special services of plotting sabotage and terrorist acts in the breakaway region on the eve of the presidential elections–scheduled in the breakaway region for October 3. "The Georgian special services aim to disrupt the forthcoming presidential elections and trigger destabilization in Abkhazia," Abkhaz news agency Apsnypress reported on September 9 quoting Tarba as saying. "The lives of the presidential candidates are in real danger," he said–adding that the Georgian armed groups have been noticed in the regions of Gulripshi and Ochamchire of breakaway Abkhazia.
Meanwhile–Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on September 10–that Georgia does not intend to launch hostilities with Sokhumi–adding that a resolution can be found via negotiations; he added–however–that Georgia should strengthen its military forces.
He also called on the Russian politicians to refrain from unilateral moves towards Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"Everybody should understand that Grozny [capital of Chechnya] and Vladikavkaz [capital of Russia’s North Ossetia] belong to Russia–while Sokhumi [Abkhazian capital] and Tskhinvali [South Ossetian capital] are part of Georgia. So–you [the Russia’s] can arrive here as tourists," Saakashvili said.