The bridge over the Ingur river which connects Georgia and Abkhazia. Photo © Sputnik. Ilya Pitalev

19 May 2017, 04:27

Tbilisi refutes Sukhumi's statement on toughening position on border crossing

The visit of pilgrims from Abkhazia to Jerusalem has resulted in the exchange of statements between the Tbilisi and Sukhumi officials. According to the authorities of Abkhazia, the religious issues were added to the list of bans on freedom of movement and international humanitarian communication. The Georgian Orthodox Church did not protest against the pilgrimage, reports the spokesman for the Georgian Orthodox Church. An official from the Ministry for Conciliation and Civil Equality of Georgia have claimed no additional restrictions with regard to border crossing issues.

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Abkhazia and Georgia have exchanged notes in connection with the media reports about the visit of Abkhaz pilgrims to Jerusalem made in early April and their meeting with Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem.

So, according to the IA "Sputnik Abkhazia", during a conversation with pilgrims, Theophilos III promised "to pray for Abkhazia, its residents, and the country's leaders."

The Tbilisi authorities have expressed their concern over the statement voiced by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem in Abkhazia. In this regard, the Georgian Ambassador to Israel met Theophilos III, the "Inter Post News" reports with reference to the Georgian MFA.

According to the Georgian MFA, the Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem have told the Georgian Ambassador to Israel that he believes "it is completely unacceptable to attach political motives to such a meeting."

In turn, the Abkhazian MFA has stated that "Georgia now wants to block access to holy places."

After the statement made by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, the reasons for the misunderstanding have been exhausted, reports Archpriest Kakhaber Gogotsishvili, the deputy head of the External Relations Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church. He has also added that the Georgian Orthodox Church did not protest against residents of Abkhazia making a pilgrimage and joining Christian values.

In August 2008, Russia recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia treats them as its occupied territories.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Beslan Kmuzov; Source: CK correspondent

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