Statement by Inal Ardzinba on new approaches to interaction with international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies operating in the Republic of Abkhazia

Statement by Inal Ardzinba on new approaches to interaction with international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies operating in the Republic of Abkhazia
8 December 2023 638

Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia has carried out work to develop new approaches to interaction with international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and UN Agencies operating in the Republic of Abkhazia. The need for this approach is dictated by non-transparent activities and attempts to misinform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia which is confirmed by contradictions in the information in the submitted questionnaires and the progress of the practical implementation of projects.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia received a questionnaire from the UN Development Program “Partnership for Sustainability” project for its approval with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia. The donor of this project is the USAID organization (US Agency for International Development - the central government agency of the United States, subordinate to the US State Department). The project budget is $8 million. The questionnaire contained, as it turned out deliberately vague formulations of the goals and objectives of this project.

During the practical implementation of this project, attempts were identified to create some dialogue platforms in online and offline formats in order to establish direct contact between citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia and citizens of Georgia, including among refugees.

We pay attention that information posing a threat to the national security of the Republic of Abkhazia has been published on the official websites of US government agencies.

In particular, the official website of USAID confirms the systemic cooperation between USAID and the United Nations Development Program, the partnership of these organizations in the context of the implementation of the “Partnership for Sustainability” project, which is being implemented in our country. This project is described on the USAID website as follows:

“USAID's program «Partnerships for Resilience» is a flagship initiative aimed at a key challenge in Georgia: creating of wide opportunities for interaction between people living on opposite sides of the administrative line separating Abkhazia from the rest of Georgia. In partnership with UNDP, USAID is providing critically important assistance to Abkhazia occupied by Russia, including life-saving emergency assistance to combat COVID-19, and is focusing on developing of cross-border ties, especially economic ties.

USAID created the program in collaboration with local non-governmental organizations, the Georgian government, and UN organizations with proven experience and access to Abkhazia occupied by Russia. The resulting program is implemented by UNDP, FAO, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN Women to promote strong social, professional and economic ties between individuals and communities on both sides of the administrative border. The created connections will resist the harmful influence of the Kremlin and improve the prospects for peaceful reconciliation.”

Thus, we note that in the project questionnaire submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia for approval, completely different goals and objectives of the project were indicated.

By formulating vague goals and objectives, project curators misinform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia in order to achieve the main goal – creating of public conditions for promoting of Georgian policy in Abkhazia. This is confirmed by the official USAID strategy published on the Agency’s website. The Republic of Abkhazia in this document is considered as “the occupied territory of Georgia”, and all activities are aimed at “restoring of territorial integrity” and “resisting of the harmful influence of the Kremlin.”

The leaders of the above-mentioned organizations, especially their regional representatives are engaged in the aggregation and analysis of information regarding current trends in the economic and political development of the Republic of Abkhazia. It was for these purposes that USAID representatives visited the Republic of Abkhazia in 2021 The corresponding news about this visit was published on the official USAID website:

“This was a U.S. government visit to the Georgian region of Abkhazia that provided a critically important opportunity to demonstrate the continued U.S. commitment to the region development and an opportunity to resist the opinion that the people living in Abkhazia must be dependent on Russia to guarantee their stable and secure future. "

It should be especially emphasized that the US government agency USAID uses the official unit of the United Nations UNDP as a tool to legalize its actions on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia. The UN Development Program funds Abkhazian NGO initiatives with millions of US dollars.

Also on the official USAID website, information has been published about the new Head of the USAID Mission in the Caucasus based in Tbilisi-John A. Pennel, appointed in 2022 In particular, his biography notes that he worked as DeputyDirector of the USAID Mission for Ukraine and Belarus in 2015-2019 (also worked in Ukraine in 2000-2001). It was during these periods that a network of NGOs was established in Ukraine and Belarus, which actively interfered in the internal affairs of these countries, contributed to the destabilization of the socio-political situation, discrediting the authorities, and made efforts to change the leadership of the country. Mr. Pennel was directly involved in these events.

Through USAID mechanisms, funding continues to flow to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, aimed against our main ally - the Russian Federation and against our compatriots - citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia taking part in a special military operation. At the same time, exactly the same Western structures are implementing supposedly humanitarian projects on the territory of the Republic of Abkhazia.

We note that USAID activities in the Russian Federation have been prohibited since 2012, and in the Republic of Belarus since 2019.

According to Russian and Belarusian colleagues, the activities of the network of Western NGOs are aimed at changing of values and development of models, discrediting cultures, religions and civilizations, falsifying history, and violating spiritual and moral ties between fraternal peoples. A significant part of the activity of Western NGOs is aimed at countering the development of integration associations in the post-Soviet space, implemented on the initiative and with the assistance of the Russian Federation.

Speaking of falsifying of the history of our country. On September 27 of this year, the official page of the US Embassy in Georgia published an information that “on the 30-th anniversary of the capture of Sukhumi by Russian-backed forces, Alan Purcell, Chargé d’Affaires and US military personnel honored the memory of those killed in the 1992-1993 war.” It is stated: “We remember September 27, 1993 – the day of the fall of Sukhumi.”

In connection with the above facts, the following decisions were made:

1 Declare John Pennel, USAID regional director persona non grata.

2 New projects with partial or full financial support from USAID will no longer be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia.

3 It is prohibited to implement projects whose purpose is to establish contacts between citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia and citizens of Georgia.

4 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia will not approve projects with vague and inaccurate information that does not fully reflect the goals and objectives of the project.

5 It is prohibited to finance media projects whose purpose is to cover issues of domestic and foreign policy of the Republic of Abkhazia.

6 INGOs and UN Agencies are to coordinate the allocation of financial resources for initiatives of Abkhaz non-governmental organizations, as well as any activities carried out within the framework of agreed projects with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia will continue to suppress any attempts to interfere in internal affairs, socio-political processes in the Republic of Abkhazia by INGOs and UN Agencies, as well as prohibit the implementation of projects that threaten the national security of our country.

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