Sukhum/Agency Caucasus – The Abkhazian Chamber of Commerce has started on Wednesday a three-day international economic forum in the Abkhazian city of Pitsunda.
The forum is aimed at pulling more investigators towards Abkhazia this year. The Abkhazian administration has therefore willingly supplied assistance to the Chamber in its efforts. Businessmen from such countries as Russia, North Caucasian republics, Turkey and Transnistria are in Pitsunda to attend the forum. Although invited to Pitsunda, officials of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce from Turkey were dissuaded by Georgian lobbyists from taking part in the forum.
The forum discussions will centre on what could possibly be done to make Abkhazia a centre of business investment, especially in the areas of agriculture, construction and transportation. Possible suggestions include easing investors into the overall economic situation of Abkhazia.
Aleksandr Stranichkin, Vice President of Abkhazia, referred in his words back to the first forum of 2006 in Pitsunda. He said that it had been a good opportunity for Abkhazia to earn business recognition and the 2008 forum would hopefully work well to the same end: “Your wishes just don’t come true immediately after a forum like this is held. Abkhazia considers it to be a success on its own part if two out of one hundred businessmen invest in the country.”
Forums such as this should be accorded importance if Abkhazia wanted to earn world-wide business recognition, said Kristina Ozgan, the Abkhazian Minister of Economics, and expressed his hope that more foreign investors would respond positively to Abkhazia’s call for investment this year.
Turkish businessmen met with President Sergei Bagapsh of Abkhazia on Tuesday after they arrived in Sukum. Bagapsh expressed his wish for more business cooperation between his country and Turkey: “We’d like very much to establish business links with the countries that neighbour the Black Sea, especially with Turkey, a country which hosts thousands of Abkhazians. We respect Turkey. It should be clear to everyone that there are no more embargoes. Now is the time for Abkhazia to grow more and more economically. We are, therefore, ready to do large-scale business with our neighbours.”
Although 75 businessmen from Turkey would be in Pitsunda, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey were called by Georgia to stop members of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce from going to Abkhazia, said Handan Demiröz, Chairwoman of the Istanbul-based CSA group, and added that only 25 businessmen could make their way into Pitsunda. Demiröz also said that most Turkish businessmen would like to establish connections with their Abkhazian counterparts: “Most of them are willing to see Abkhazia and evaluate the political as well as economic conditions of it.”
Sukhum, capital of Abkhazia, hosted in May 2007 an economic forum. And Pitsunda was the place to host in October 2007 an economic forum for businesswomen of South Caucasus. KU/ÖZ/FT