Distinguished Deputies!

I appeal to You in the very historical moment, when the struggle for restoring the independence has turned into a new phase.   Flourishing and successful society may be developed only through consolidation of all powers, regardless ethnic or national origin.  Only in such society a man can live in dignity, according to the high demands of civilization and democracy.

Abkhaz people always stand side by side with the Georgian nation in his struggle for freedom and independence, fighting against foreign empires.  Georgian nation has never left Abkhaz people in need, even in the moments when Georgians themselves experienced hardship.  I friendship used to go without suspicion and perfidy, which, unfortunately has become a rule since 1917 and the spread of Bolshevik ideology and totalitarian political regime.

I am not going to enumerate all hardships and tragedies through which the Abkhaz and Georgian people went during 70 years.  And today still there is a tension in Abkhazia, as well as mistrust and suspicion between Abkhaz and Georgian populations.  At the same time the mixed weddings happen with more intensity, the relative ties between Abkhazs and Georgians become stronger.  No one can destroy this historical aspiration of two relative peoples living next to each other.

Despite the difficulties that Abkhaz people met during the totalitarian-administrative system, the Abkhaz national culture has reached the highest peak over the recent years.  We understand Abkhaz people’s aspiration to extend their autonomy, which was not perfect during many years, like all political institutions introduced in the USSR by the Communist regime.   

While developing the new society in the Republic of Georgia we shall take into account the traditions of the development of Abkhazia’s status.  This issue will be decided by the special commission of representatives of the supreme councils of the Republic of Georgia and of the Abkhaz ASSR.

We have repeatedly stated that the status of the autonomous republic is inviolable, and it is established in the Constitution of the Republic of Georgia.  The subject of negotiations should be extension of the competences of Abkhazia in accordance with a modern aspiration.  Any one-side action from any party is inadmissible and it may entail unpredictable developments, which, unfortunately are felt even today.   

The certain forces in the Center have tried to compromise from inside Georgia’s struggle for independence; namely, they try to breed confrontation between Abkhaz and Georgian people, to tear away Abkhazia from Georgia’s body.  Any such attempt is deemed to failure, as the cement, which unites Abkhazia with the rest of Georgia is so strong that none of inner or outer forces may fall it down.  

If the Abkhaz people reached the peak of national-cultural and political development within the hard years, its future will be more secured and prosperous within free Georgia.  The key for creating the fair society in the territory of Abkhazia is in the hands of Abkhaz and Georgian people, and of other nationals living in the Abkhaz ASSR.

At the same time the political realism dictates that the priority should be close cooperation of Abkhazs and Georgians – the nations historically living on this territory.  The latter does not exclude the possibility of recognizing the certain rights of Abkhaz people to create political institutions and develop the state structures of the autonomous republic.

Georgian nation, Georgians living in Abkhazia understand the aspirations of Abkhaz people, but they will do everything to avoid gross violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Georgia and the Constitution of the Abkhaz ASSR.  These Constitutions have rather strict legal barriers to put an end to such actions, which may have rather grave consequences.

Even through the common sense, proper assessment of political and legal realities, mutual trust and genuine cooperation, both in Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, we may solve the issue of Abkhazia’s status within the Republic of Georgia – the territorial integrity of which is guaranteed under the international law.  

I wish the success to the Session of the Supreme Council of the Abkhaz ASSR on the way of creating new structures of a political power, which will find its organic place within the political system of the democratic republic of Georgia.

With the deep respect,

The President of the Republic of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia

(Newspaper “Abkhazetis Khma” /Voice of Abkhazia/, # 117, 10 July 1991)