President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khadjimba,
There is probably no need to describe the nature of our relations – they are of a uniquely fraternal nature. We know how much has been accomplished of late to make Abkhazia stronger. An excellent legal base has been put in place with more than 100 agreements and another 30 currently in preparation.
In the area of investment relations, we have put together a package worth more than 9 billion rubles, and just over 700 projects have been approved. On both sides, we must now ensure that all of this is worked through very thoroughly.
Everything must be thoroughly worked through and must be realistic, so that this money goes on real projects such as upgrading the roads, improving the situation in schools and hospitals, and building new kindergartens.
We certainly hope that this will be the case. I looked through the information on the latest holiday season before and saw that a record number of Russian tourists holidayed in Abkhazia this year. We will continue to develop these relations.
We see, of course, that Abkhazia’s domestic political situation is complicated, but this is a normal thing for any society and any country. We do hope, of course, that the situation will remain under control and stay within the bounds of the law, otherwise this would complicate our plans to carry out our economic cooperation projects. Obviously, when there is upheaval going on, roads, hospitals and schools are no longer the priority.
Let me note that our bilateral trade increased this year. It is perhaps not such a lot in absolute figures, but the trend is nonetheless positive.
We have an agreement, the basic agreement on friendship and mutual assistance, and a separate agreement concerning military affairs. I know that Abkhazia has ratified them, and we have also just completed our internal procedures in this regard.
These are all matters that we will discuss today. I am very happy to see you.
President of Abkhazia Raul Khadjimba: Thank you, Mr Putin. I am pleased to have received this invitation to come to Moscow. This is our second meeting this year, and this in itself is evidence of the level of our relations.
Work is certainly continuing on our bilateral legal framework. I am sure that the agreement on alliance and strategic partnership, which we have both signed, will enable us to make reality the plans we have drawn up. We continue working on these matters, developing our relations in areas such as defence, border cooperation, and the economy.
Indeed, as you noted, our bilateral trade has increased by 5 percent. These volumes are not the biggest, but our trade continues to increase.
Russia’s assistance has helped to bring improvement in some area of Abkhazia’s life. Our banking sector has developed. In terms of budget revenue, execution of our 2016 budget was up 36 percent compared to what it was in 2015, and up 66 percent on the 2014 figure.
There are also issues of great importance to us, such as economic development and putting in place the conditions that would make it possible to achieve growth and resolve social sector tasks. I hope that we will have the chance to discuss all of these matters.
On behalf of the Abkhazian people, let me express my very best wishes and thank you once again for the help that Abkhazia has received at this difficult time.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.