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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Ankvab, it is a great pleasure to see you again. Both of us are here today in a new capacity, last time we met was before the election in Abkhazia and before Russia’s presidential election.
Much has been accomplished in Abkhazia’s development as an independent country, but there still remains much more work ahead. I know that there is no shortage of problems. We saw progress today in resolving one of these problems – the issue of border crossings.
I hope very much that the work accomplished of late will give people a more convenient environment in which to have contact with each other, do business, meet and enjoy holidays in Abkhazia and here in Sochi, too.
Of course this is all not enough. I know that there are still many issues, many problems in Abkhazia. Russia is ready to lend a hand of support, above all in the social sector. That is not to forget security issues, which we will discuss later, but social issues such as healthcare and education, and economic development issues are all on the agenda. Today we will have the chance to discuss all of these different areas in more detail today.
President of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab: Thank you, Mr President, for the invitation and for this meeting. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your inauguration as President of Russia, and I congratulate you not only personally, but on behalf of all of your voters in Abkhazia.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Alexander Ankvab: They pass on their best wishes and wish you and Russia success.
I agree completely that Abkhazia today is not what it was 6–7 years ago, when we began our work. With Russia’s help we have made considerable progress. The steady development that Russia is supporting has immense importance for our country today, because, despite all that we have done so far, the war left us with many problems that we still need to resolve.
Our people’s positive mood comes above all from knowing that we have Russia’s support and your personal support. We are absolutely confident that things will start to go a lot better than before.