Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming working visit to Abkhazia
On April 18−19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will make a working visit to the Republic of Abkhazia.
On April 18, Sergey Lavrov will attend the opening ceremony of the Russian Embassy’s new compound in Abkhazia. On April 19, he will hold talks with President of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba, Speaker of the People’s Assembly (parliament) Valery Kvarchia and Foreign Minister Daur Kove. Opinions will be exchanged on key bilateral issues, as well as the strengthening of Abkhazia’s international standing and the coordination of Russia-Abkhazia foreign policy cooperation.
While recognising Abkhazia’s independence in 2008, Russia became the guarantor of Abkhazia’s existence as an independent state and also of the peaceful future for the people of Abkhazia. Russian-Abkhazian interstate relations have been developing consistently based on the principles of alliance and strategic partnership.
Russia and Abkhazia have formed a substantial legal framework for their cooperation, which comprises over 100 various bilateral documents, including the fundamental Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, signed on September 17, 2008, and the Agreement on Alliance and Strategic Partnership dated November 24, 2014.
Bilateral cooperation in the sphere of security is especially important in the current complicated situation in the region. Georgia, which wants to join NATO, has not abandoned its claims to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and has refused to coordinate the principles of the non-use of force with them. In keeping with Russian-Abkhazian agreements, a Russian military base has been deployed in Abkhazia, and Russian border guards help Abkhazia protect its border with Georgia.
Russia provides large-scale assistance to Abkhazia under the Investment Programme for Facilitating Abkhazia’s Socioeconomic Development for 2015–2017. This work is coordinated by the Intergovernmental Commission co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Khloponin and Prime Minister of Abkhazia Beslan Bartsits.
The Russian and Abkhazian delegations closely cooperate at the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus, which were launched after the 2008 war in South Ossetia to ensure the security of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These Geneva Discussions are the only venue where Abkhazia acts as an international player. The Russian and Abkhazian delegations in Geneva maintain coordinated allied positions on crucial issues concerning regional security, such as the signing of legally binding agreements on the non-use of force, resistance of the confrontational moves of Georgian diplomacy on the international arena and Georgia’s militarisation within the framework of its cooperation with NATO.
Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Sukhum and his talks with the Abkhazian leaders are expected to give a fresh impetus to Russian-Abkhazian relations and to strengthen their foreign policy cooperation.