MOSCOW/TBILISI, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Abkhazia's president has ordered that force be used against Georgian vessels violating the former Georgian republic's maritime border, the Abkhazian foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Sergei Shamba said in an interview with RIA Novosti that Abkhazia was ready to resort to force and the order had been given "to open fire on Georgian ships if they continue their acts of piracy."
Last month Georgia seized the Panama-flagged Buket tanker and its cargo as it was carrying over 2,000 of gasoline and 770 metric tons of diesel to Abkhazia from Turkey. Tbilisi accused the Turkish company operating the Buket of smuggling and violating the ban on unauthorized economic activity in what Georgia considers an occupied territory.
Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh told local media that Abkhazia would take "appropriate measures" if Georgia continued seizing ships with cargo intended for the republic.
"Georgia continues with its acts of piracy near the territorial waters of Abkhazia, seizing foreign vessels with humanitarian cargo that are heading to our country. In this connection I took a decision on the use of appropriate measures," Bagapsh told local news agency Apsynpress.
Tbilisi considers Abkhazia and its waters part of Georgian territory, and as part of efforts to isolate the republic has declared any unauthorized shipments of goods to be illegal.
On August 26, the republic celebrated the first anniversary of Russia's recognition of its independence. So far the only other country to have recognized it and South Ossetia is Nicaragua.