Politicians, locals react to transfer of occupied Abkhazia’s Bichvinta resort to Russia
Politicians, locals react to transfer of occupied Abkhazia’s Bichvinta resort to Russia

The de facto Parliament of Russia-occupied Abkhazia ratified the agreement on the transfer of the Bichvinta retreat area to Russia for a 49-year lease, the Speaker of the so-called Parliament of Abkhazia, Lasha Ashuba, announced the decision on December 27.

The very move met backlash among locals who protested against the decision at the so-called parliament overnight, claiming that “Abkhazia lost jurisdiction over part of the territory.”

The protesters also published a letter, stressing that the recent move showed “there is complete legal chaos in the Parliament. We are dealing with an unprecedented case of territory loss not in wartime, but in peacetime.”

Georgian Foreign Ministry echoed the decision, saying it has “no legal power and is void.” According to its statement, “The ratification of the so-called agreement is another illegal act and the continuation of Russia’s occupation policy of the indivisible regions of Georgia, which grossly violates the fundamental principles of international law.”

The Ministry called on Russia to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to fulfill its international obligation.”

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili “strongly condemned another land grab by Russians in Georgian territories and their creeping annexation policies.” In her tweet, the President said, “The strong popular reaction we see around the Bichvinta transfer is a direct result of continued occupation.” Zourabichvili called on the International community for a “strong and urgent reaction.”

The de facto Parliament’s decision was also “strongly condemned” by the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Nikoloz Samkharadze. “We declare all legal actions carried out during occupation null and void. This will be remedied once restores its jurisdiction over Abkhazia,” he stated.

French Ambassador to Georgia, Sheraz Gasri also echoed the ratification of the so-called agreement, saying “France supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any decision undermining the territorial integrity of Georgia, such as the attempt to transfer land in Abkhazia to Russia, is illegal, null and void.”