Expert: Lukashenka is in trap over Abkhazia recognition

The European Radio for Belarus has tried to find out what people in Abkhazia think about the “sufferings” of the Belarusian leadership, which tries to delay the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.
The question of a possible recognition by Belarus of the self-declared republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains open. Nobody can say exactly if the House of Representatives will study this issue during lawmakers’ session on April 2, as promised before. The recent meeting between Belarus and Abkhaz leaders did not shed light on this situation, either.

Ruslan Kharabua, Abkhazia’s hero and a senior research fellow at the Moscow-based Institute for CIS countries, says it is important for Abkhazians to obtain recognition from Belarus. At the same time, the people of Abkhazia understand that Minsk plays its own game. No country would make decisions against itself.
Ruslan Kharabua: “The Abkhazian people understand the situation Minsk is facing. They would want to get recognition. But, they understand that Minsk plays its own game, let’s be frank about it. It is very difficult for Lukashenka to make a decision in this situation. He has to get out of this difficult position. Abkhazia remains a hostage of this game”.

During their meeting on March 23 in the Russian sea resort city of Sochi, Alexander Lukashenka and Sergei Bagapsh did not have a separate conversation about the recognition, although the Abkhaz leader was looking for it.

Ruslan Kharabua: “I have no doubt that they talked about the recognition backstage. But, Lukashenka made no official statements in this regard”.

Sergei Bagapsh hoped to raise his support ratings with the help of Belarus. According to Kharabua, the situation ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in Abkhazia does not look so conducive for him.

Why is Belarus so important in terms of Abkhazia’s recognition?

Ruslan Kharabua says that Belarus is the only country in the world that has declared this possibility; they have nobody else to hope for.

“When there was blockade; when CIS countries introduced economic sanctions against Abkhazia in 1996, Belarus still supported us. This allows Abkhazia to reckon that Belarus could make this decision (recognition), because there are no more countries who would declare this”.

In order to compensate the delay in taking a political decision, the Belarus leader proposed Sukhumi an economic partnership.

Ruslan Kharabua: “The Belarus president stated about an economic cooperation. The economic partnership is easier to implement for the Belarusian president, rather than to recognize Abkhazia in today’s conditions of the pressure from Europe.

Obviously, the parliament (of Belarus) will not take this decision independently. It will be a centralized decision by the Belarus leadership. The parliament will postpone this decision possibly till fall. Clearly, Belarus has the proposals from Europe which are impossible to reject”.

We remind that Belarusian commentator Yury Shevtsov also said in a recent interview with the European Radio for Belarus that the recognition could take place in the fall. In his view, Minsk will try not to let down the forces in Europe which are lobbying for Belarus’ participation in the Eastern Partnership and closer ties with the European Union.

Meanwhile, Sukhumi realizes that good news from Minsk would not come for a long time. Ruslan Kharabua noted:

“I think that the president of Belarus has found himself in a trap which will not allow him to resolve this issue quickly. He will have to find ways out of this complicated situation”.

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