Abkhazia states Sukhumi airport to continue operation

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Sukhumi, June 13 (Itar-Tass) -- The Sukhumi airport will continue its operation no matter how the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) opposes this move of the breakaway republic, spokesperson for the Abkhazian leader Kristian Bzhania told reporters on Thursday in comments to a statement made by Deputy Regional Director of the ICAO European and North Atlantic Office George Firican.

Firican said in Tbilisi on Thursday that the ICAO would ban any international flights from the airport in Sukhumi "until Abkhazia comes back under Georgia's jurisdiction."

In Bzhania's view, the statement made by a so high-ranking ICAO
official looks quite strange. "We believed that this international
organisation regulates purely technical issues. So, the ICAO isolated
itself from the processes that would go on regardless Georgia's wishes," Bzhania said. "We did not expect that the ICAO official will make a so irresponsible statement," he emphasized.

"After the Georgian-Abkhazian war the Abkhazian leadership appealed to the international community to open the airport, as contrary to authoritative international institutions we consider the freedom of movement for civilians as a very important human right," Bzhania said.

Upon Georgia's demands the ICAO banned to use the Sukhumi airport for international flights. At present the airport is used only for flights in Abkhazia, by the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Forces and the UN Observer Mission in Georgia.

The runway of the Sukhumi airport is 3,640 meters long. Aircraft
weighing up to 125 tons can land at the airport that meets the world
standards. A new passenger terminal is fully ready at the Sukhumi airport.