A counterproductive approach to Abkhazia

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Although one could raise many points of dispute with Kurt Volker's May 25 op-ed, "Avoiding an Olympic mess," on policy prescriptions toward the disputed territory of Abkhazia, I would like to focus on one. Mr. Volker recommended that the United States and European Union assume a position of diplomatic nonrecognition and economic isolation of Abkhazia.

This proposal suggests nothing more than a continuation of the same isolationist policies that have failed since 1994, during which time the United States and the international community have driven the people of Abkhazia into a position whereby the only support they are able to accept comes from Russia. Criminalizing business activity and investments in the region and revoking travel possibilities for those living in Abkhazia, as Mr. Volker proposed, would only further ensure that Abkhazia's future lies with its northern neighbor.

The best way to guarantee security in this region is to finally open the avenues for practical relationships to be built between Abkhazia, its neighbors, and the West.

Patrik Shirak, Washington


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