On January 5, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba attended a special session of the People’s Assembly-Parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia concerning the situation of the handover of G. Lukava to Georgia. The President explained his position on this issue to the members of Parliament.
“The Decree (on the handover of G. Lukava to the Georgian side) is connected to a process which has been ongoing for a long time. It began in September 2015 after President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov and I discussed the issue of the exchange of people who have been imprisoned for a long time, 25 years and for life. A decision has been made. As Head of State, I believe that this is a political act that had to be carried out especially if we take into account the events of 2008. We remember the situation, it was not easy. South Ossetia suffered an attack by the Georgian army. Men who were captured had to be freed. The request by the President of South Ossetia was the start of this work. The process was not easy. In response to these suggestions, the Georgian side made its own demands. The list that we have received included 20 people. We have decided that for eight people, one is to be released by us. Some people say now that this was an unequal exchange. There were cases when we received people without an exchange. This is well-known, it was related to different actions arising from our relations with the Georgian side.
On our side, we also tried different ways to solve the problems of our soldiers. The most important thing is an opportunity to rescue our people.
The Georgian side categorically demanded the release of this person who was on the list which was presented the first time. It is true that we tried to delay his release. However, we were convinced by the demands of the Georgian side and the possibility to rescue a significant number of our citizens, as well as receive Lakaev, who committed a crime in Abkhazia.
The Georgian side always tried to delay the solution to the issue. Later, the elections of the President of South Ossetia began. The negotiations started with one President, and between the elections, there were additional letters from the Acting President. After that, this work was continued together with the new President. This is the reason for all these delays.
The rest of the work was related to the possibility of returning the people who were on the Georgian territory. This is the continuation of the process of the exchange of the citizens of South Ossetia and the Georgians who were on our territory, in our prisons. No other goal was pursued”, - said the Head of State.