Report on the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia in 2020

Report on the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia in 2020
29 December 2020 870

In 2020 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia carried out the active work on the development and implementation of the state policy of the Republic of Abkhazia in the sphere of international relations and coordination of foreign policy activities of the Republic of Abkhazia. Despite the current epidemiological situation due to the global pandemic of a new coronavirus infection COVID-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued productive work on strengthening and development of friendly relations with States, which recognized the sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia.

Priority in the republic's foreign policy was given to the further development and deepening of friendly relations with the Russian Federation. Over the past year, the Abkhaz-Russian relations in various spheres were actively strengthened and substantially enriched.

During the reporting period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia continued the active interaction on topical issues of bilateral agenda and search for new directions of joint work. In the context of the Abkhaz-Russian interaction, a number of meetings were held on various aspects of bilateral cooperation. 

In particular, within the framework of the working visit of Daur Kove, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia to Moscow in January 2020, the meeting with Andrey Rudenko, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation was held where the issues of the improvement of the foreign policy of the Abkhaz-Russian interaction, including the further expansion of the international positions of the Republic of Abkhazia were discussed.

During his working trip to Moscow in July 2020, Daur Kove met with Alexei Shaposhnikov, the Chairman of the Moscow City Duma. The prospects for cooperation between Moscow and Sukhum and the exchange of experiences in the tourism sector were discussed at the meeting. There was also a meeting of the Abkhaz Foreign Minister with Sergei Cheremin, the Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations where the issues of strengthening cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Government of Moscow were discussed. 

In 2020 the Republic of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation actively cooperated in the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19. Much work was done to prevent the spread of the infection in the Republic of Abkhazia, to protect the health of citizens and to provide assistance to those who fell ill.

On July 16 preliminary agreement was reached on sending Rospotrebnadzor representatives to the Republic of Abkhazia for joint monitoring of the situation on the spot.at the meeting of Daur Kove, the Minister of Foreign Affairs with Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor in Moscow. They confirmed Rospotrebnadzor's readiness to continue providing consultative and material and technical assistance to the Abkhaz side, including the supply of Russian test systems and reagents for diagnosing the new coronavirus infection.

On July 21, at a meeting between Daur Kove and Igor Kagramanyan, First Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, the parties agreed to send a group of specialists from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Rospotrebnadzor of Russia, the Ministry of Health of Krasnodar region to exchange practical experience, conduct activities on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the new coronavirus infection Covid19.

It should be noted that during the period of restrictions of movement across the state border with the Russian Federation along the Psou River imposed due to the pandemic coronavirus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia from April to August 2020 issued more than 4000 forms of "Certificates on Return" to citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia returning to their home country during this period.

During 2020, intensive work was carried out on interaction with international nongovernmental organizations operating in the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia in the framework of joint efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus, as well as to coordinate the activities of INGOs in the republic. 

During the reporting period, a number of meetings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and his deputies with representatives of international non-governmental organizations were held, as a result of which these organizations provided substantial assistance and support to the Republic of Abkhazia in the fight against COVID-19. 

In April 2020. Daur Kove held a meeting with experts of the World Health Organization, who came to the Republic to provide advice to local specialists, as well as to provide medicines. This support was made possible with the help of all UN agencies and USAID.  

Throughout the year, the Abkhaz Foreign Minister met repeatedly with the UNDP Resident Representative to discuss the implementation of projects aimed at combating COVID-19, as well as other major projects, especially those aimed at supporting agriculture in Abkhazia.

During the reporting period, Irakli Tuzhba, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia held meetings with Matthias Weinreich, the Head of the ICRC Mission in the Republic of Abkhazia, with Kiyal Arabayeva, the Acting Head of the FAO Project Office in Abkhazia with Kemlin Furley, UNHCR Representative, with Erwin Blau, the Head of the "Movement against Hunger" office in Abkhazia, with representatives of The HALO Trust. During each of these meetings the current activity of these organizations in the Republic of Abkhazia, as well as various projects aimed at improving the well-being of people, improving their living conditions, infrastructure development and the fight against COVID-19 were discussed.

During this period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to actively work to further expand and maintain mutually beneficial cooperation with the states of the Middle East and African regions.

The year 2020 was a year of productive cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic. The establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Abkhazia in the Syrian Arab Republic was a historic event and an important step in the development and strengthening of relations between the two countries.

On July 28, 2020 the ceremony of presentation of the credentials took place in the presidential palace. Bagrat Khutaba, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Abkhazia to Syria was received by the President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar Assad.

At the reception, the President of Syria and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Abkhazia discussed issues of Abkhaz-Syrian bilateral cooperation in different spheres.

During 2020, B. Khutaba, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Abkhazia to the Syrian Arab Republic participated in a number of meetings with officials of the Syrian Arab Republic. 

On October 4, 2020 the delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia arrived in Damascus to participate in the opening of ceremony of the Embassy of the Republic of Abkhazia in Syria.

B. Assad, the President of the Syrian Arab Republic received the delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia, headed by Alkhas Kvitsinia, the Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Abkhazia at the presidential residence in Damascus. During the meeting, B. Assad expressed his desire to develop relations with the Republic of Abkhazia and stressed that the opening of the Embassy of Abkhazia in Syria will give a new impetus to the development of Abkhaz-Syrian inter-state relations.

During the visit of the delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia to Syria, Daur Kove, head of the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia, and Valid Muallem, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Compatriots Abroad, signed an intergovernmental agreement to abolish visa requirements for holders of diplomatic or service passports. 

The delegation of the Republic of Abkhazia also met with Hussein Arnous, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Syrian Arab Republic. At the meeting they discussed the creation of a joint Abkhaz-Syrian commission on trade, economic, scientific, cultural and tourism cooperation.

On October 6, the Embassy of the Republic of Abkhazia in the Syrian Arab Republic was solemnly opened in Damascus.

On November 11-12, Daur Kove, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia participated in the opening ceremony of an international conference in Damascus devoted to facilitating of the return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons who were forced to leave the territory of Syria as a result of the conflict.

During his visit to Syria, the Abkhazian foreign minister met with Hussein Arnous, Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions imposed, the 2020 rounds of the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the Transcaucasus were postponed. However, work on the agenda of the Geneva Discussions continued via videoconference, which maintained a high level of communication with the co-chairs of the Geneva Discussions. This format made it possible to address all topical issues of mutual interest.

It should be noted that, despite the objective difficulties, a face-to-face meeting with the co-chairs of the international Geneva Discussions on security and stability in the Trans-Caucasus was held at the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry on 17 September 2020.

The main topic of the meeting was to discuss the agenda for the upcoming 51-st round of the international Geneva Discussions and current issues of regional security and stability in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition, in October 2020, Daur Kove met with Toivo Klaar, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus at the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry. 

On December 10, the 51-st round of International Geneva Discussions on security and stability in Transcaucasia was held. 

On February 26, representatives of the Plenipotentiary Mission of the Republic of Abkhazia in the Republic of Turkey and deputies of the National Assembly-Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia met Doğu Perençek, the Chairman of Vatan party in the office of Vatan party in Istanbul.

During the meeting the sides discussed further promotion of the international recognition of the Republic of Abkhazia, steps being taken in this direction, as well as meetings with the leaders of Turkish parties, representatives of socio-political movements and Turkish officials.

A meeting of representatives of the Plenipotentiary Mission of the Republic of Abkhazia in the Republic of Turkey and deputies of the National Assembly-Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia with Professor, Dr. Feridun Yilmaz, the Vice-Rector of the University was held at Uludag University, in the city of Bursa. Issues of interuniversity cooperation were discussed within the framework of the meeting. The meeting with representatives of political party "Vatan" took place too. One of the topics of discussion was the issue of promoting positive image of the Republic of Abkhazia in the media.

The intensification of relations with the Republic of South Ossetia continued in the outgoing year.

On September 29 Daur Kove and Dmitry Medoev signed the plan of consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia for the years 2021-2022 in Sukhum. The heads of foreign ministries also discussed in detail current issues of Abkhaz-South Ossetian relations and further development of bilateral cooperation. 

In 2020, relations with the Prednistrovian Moldovan Republic were actively developing. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, a number of meetings were held between Daur Kove, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia and Harry Kupalba, the Head of the official representation of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic in the Republic of Abkhazia. Prospects for bilateral interstate cooperation were discussed.

The active work aimed at maintaining and developing existing ties was continued in Latin America, Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. 

The year 2020 marked the 12th anniversary of the recognition of state sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Abkhazia by the Republic of Nicaragua. In connection with this event, Daur Kove, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia held a video conference with Alba Asucena Torres Mejia, the Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua in the Republic of Abkhazia. During the videoconference the hope for further fruitful cooperation and friendship between the two republics was expressed.

It should be noted that on the eve of the 41st anniversary of the Sandinista revolution in the Republic of Nicaragua at the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia another videoconference took place between Deputy Foreign Minister Irakli Tujba and the Ambassador of the Republic of Nicaragua in the Republic of Abkhazia Alba Azucena Torres Mejia. During the videoconference the Ambassador of Nicaragua officially introduced Alias Khashba, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nicaragua in the Republic of Abkhazia.

Vito Grittani, Ambassador for special assignments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia met with Matteo Salvini, Member of the Italian Senate, Secretary of the League of the North, former Minister of the Interior of Italy at the office of the Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of Abkhazia in Italy and the EU in the city of Bari on August 29, 2020. Ambassador Grittani conveyed greetings on behalf of A.G. Bzhania, the President of the Republic of Abkhazia and D.V. Kove, Foreign Minister spoke about Abkhazia and the active work carried out by the Diplomatic Mission in the European Union.

In 2020 the Council of Young Diplomats to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia continued its activities. 

In July the Council of Young Diplomats met with A. Khashba, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nicaragua in the Republic of Abkhazia on the occasion of the next anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution and the opening of the new Consulate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia. During the event, members of the Council were also given a presentation on the Sandinista Revolution and its role in the history of Nicaragua. 

On September 17, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia held an online conference with representatives of the Council of Young Diplomats of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the framework of bilateral consultations there was an in-depth exchange of views on a number of issues. At the end of the conference the young diplomats expressed hope that they would meet again soon.

In 2020 the course to increase international awareness of the foreign policy of the Republic of Abkhazia information support of foreign policy activities and qualitative coverage of the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia inside and outside the country was continued.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to continue to be guided by the national interests of the Republic of Abkhazia, increasing the effectiveness of its work on the implementation of the main objectives of foreign policy and the creation of lasting guarantees for the security and sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia.

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