"Any talk of compensation for the refugees and those temporarily displaced is possible only after the Georgian side pays for the damage caused," Abkhazia's Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said, in an interview broadcast on the Georgian Rustavi-2 TV channel.
"Georgia should pay for the damage. A special commission has calculated the war damage inflicted upon Abkhazia. It stands at $11.5 billion in losses...., plus, we believe it's necessary to consider the economic losses caused by sanctions and the current blockade," he said.
However, Konstantin Gabashvili, chairman of the Georgian parliamentary committee on foreign relations, dismissed Shamba's demands. "It turns out that Georgia should pay those who celebrate that 350,000 people have been evicted from their homes, and their property sold. They [Abkhazian authorities] committed a crime against humanity, ethnic cleansing. And it's unclear what money they're talking about," he said.
Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in secessionist Abkhazia since the bloody conflict started in 1992. The peacekeepers' continued presence in the province has been a cause of tension between Russia and Georgia, which accuses Moscow of backing the separatists.
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