West should open links to Abkhazia

AbkhaziaThe small band of smugglers that is the population of South Ossetia is one thing, while the nationalists of Abkhazia are entirely different, and they do not like the idea of getting annexed by Russia. Jonathan Steele has an interesting quote from respected Caucasus analyst Tom de Waal in The Guardian:

Tom de Waal argues that the west should open links to Abkhazia without recognising its independence by taking “status-neutral” measures like supporting a direct shipping route between Abkhazia and Turkey, and getting Georgia to support it. This would not help Georgia recover Abkhazia, but it would lessen Abkhaz ties to Russia.

Steps of this kind would be useful, but they leave the big picture unchanged. Tens of thousands have lost their homes and hundreds their lives in a war for which Saakashvili – in spite of some slaps on the wrist from Obama and Biden – still has not had to pay a serious price.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/03/georgia-russia-saakashvili-us

via Robert Amsterdam

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One Comment
  1. I was in Abkhazia in August 2008 for some 10 days. I fully support Tom de Waal’s views. Taking steps to recognize Abkhazia’s independency could be supported as well.

    Knowing the public opinion in Abkhazia, it is not realistic to propose a reunification of Abkhazia and Georgia; that would require a war that would be totally devastating.

    The status quo in Abkhazia means that Russian influence will increase up to a level that will soon be irreversible. This is not clever policy on the part of Western politicians.

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