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29 Mar, 2008 11:35

Abkhazia rejects Georgia’s full autonomy offer

Abkhazian authorities have rejected an offer by Georgia of full autonomy, including the right to veto laws. Georgia’s President says the republic would be represented in all central government bodies, if it took autonomy.

“The post of Georgia's vice-president could be held by a person from Abkhazia. I also suggest the region has a right of veto for any changes in Georgia's constitution or laws, so that Abkhazians could prevent any decisions that could hurt their rights to develop their language, literature, culture and the uniqueness of their nation,” Saakashvili said.

However, Abkhazian authorities say that it contradicts the republic’s constitution, as well as the results of the referendum, when the overwhelming majority voted for independence from Georgia.

In a telephone interview with Russia Today, the Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh has said the offer is out of the question as the people decided the republic's course democratically.

“Abkhazia is not accepting these proposals because we determined our status in a referendum. There can be no talk about a wider autonomy. We can talk to Georgia and come to agreements about neighbouring relations and economic questions but when it comes to the status, this question is not being discussed,” Sergey Bagapsh said.

“There’s a proposal to sign an agreement on non-resuming the military operations. We can talk about this – we are not turning down discussions. We suggested starting talks about this. If Georgia has the will we are ready to start negotiations,” Bagapsh added.

Bagapsh says Georgia timed the proposal specifically for the upcoming NATO summit.

Abkhazia has been striving for independence for almost 15 years.