"We look on with worry over what is happening in the Arab world, about what has happened to Libya, with the country splitting, and what is happening in Syria, especially taking into consideration that there is a substantial Abkhaz and Circassian diaspora in the latter. We worry about this matter, [it's] very close to our own heart," Chirikba noted.
The Minister added that as a result of the conflict in Syria, over 500 Syrian Abkhazians have moved to Abkhazia. "We hope that Syrian authorities will be able to stabilize the situation and that the radical elements will be defeated. It is vital to restore peace to this beautiful and ancient country," he noted.
Citing his country's close proximity to the conflict zone, Chirikba noted that he worries about the potential for violence and instability in the region to negatively affect Abkhazia, both politically and economically. "All of this [is occurring] not so far from us, from Abkhazia and the Caucasus, and therefore it affects us directly; these territories are politically close to us." The Minister noted that he sincerely hopes that "moderate forces will come to power in all of these countries, which will take account of the interests of the majority and of minorities. I hope that those countries like Libya and Syria, which were stable and thriving in the past, will restore their stability on the basis of consensus between various groups; it is our aspiration to see peace in the Middle East as soon as possible."
Chirikba added that the Syrian Civil War has already negatively affected his country's aspirations to enhance its international recognition. He noted that President Bashar Al-Assad had stepped out in support of Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, stating that the Syrian civil war has stalled plans for negotiations on Syria doing the same.
Chirikba noted that contacts with China have been particularly fruitful, with China unafraid to maintain contacts with the Caucasian republics, so long as they remain unpoliticized. "China's perception of Abkhazia is quite pragmatic. China does not mind contacts with Abkhazia, its businessmen and scientists," Chirikba said. The top diplomat added that Chinese business considers the Black Sea republic to be a major potential transit corridor for Chinese exports to Russia, as well as Russian trade flows to China, due to Abkhazia's developed port infrastructure and its rail links to Russia and beyond.