Daur Kove, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met with a the UNHCR delegation at the Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia on March 27,2019. The delegation includes Pascal Moreau, the Director of the European Bureau, UNHCR; Francois Renault, the head of the European Bureau of the UNHCR; Johannes Van der Klaauw, the regional representative of the UNHCR in the South Caucasus; Yoko Akasaka, the deputy regional representative of the UNHCR in the South Caucasus.
At the beginning of the meeting Daur Kove welcomed Ms. Moreau, who for the first time is on a working visit to Abkhazia.
Ms. Moreau expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years of cooperation and noted that Abkhazia is very important for the work of UNHCR. “The UNHCR mission has been here for many years, and plans to stay here as long as possible to provide assistance to the local population,” said Pascal Moreau.
Mrs. Moreau also informed the Minister that the UNHCR Regional Representative for the South Caucasus Johannes Van der Klaauw is leaving his post in connection with his transfer to a new position. Temporarily, his duties will be performed by Ms. Yoko Akasaka, the Deputy Regional Representative of the UNHCR in the South Caucasus.
Daur Kove noted the high professional qualities of Mr. Johannes Van der Klaauw and his diplomatic approach to work and congratulated him on his new position.
Pascal Moreau, the Director of the European Bureau, UNHCR told the Minister about the meeting held on the eve with the head of the Gal district where they discussed the issue of documentation and freedom of movement of the Gal population as well as the issue of food security.
Ms. Moreau expressed the general concern on the problem and expressed interest in finding mutually acceptable ways to resolve the issue while actively facilitating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia.
In turn, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia noted that with regard to the issue of the rights and freedom of movement of citizens of Abkhazia it is worth expanding the framework and not focus only on the residents of the Gal district. He stressed that those citizens of Abkhazia who have only Abkhaz citizenship and do not have Russian citizenship are deprived of the right to free movement. “Thus, we are faced with a situation where, for example, a large number of citizens of Abkhazia are deprived of the opportunity to get an education abroad. In fact, this is a very big problem, which is periodically voiced by us at the Geneva Discussions,” Kove said.
During the meeting, the parties also discussed a number of other issues related to the current activities of the UNHCR in Abkhazia.
UNHCR is a UN agency that implements programs to provide assistance to refugees and conflict-affected especially vulnerable groups. UNHCR has been operating in Abkhazia since 1993.