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Separatism goes Pacific

By Temuri Kiguradze
Tuesday, December 15
A delegation from the Republic of Nauru, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, visited the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia on December 12 and announced that their country might recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“The Republic of Nauru takes the opinion of other countries into consideration, however it counts it its duty to support and recognise the independence of South Ossetia and appeal to other countries of the Pacific to follow its example,” stated Kieren Keke, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nauru, as quoted by the South Ossetian separatist-controlled media. The delegation noted that this issue may be put on the winter agenda of the Nauru Parliament.

Russian media reports that the visit of the Nauruan delegation to South Ossetia was preceded by “discussion of the issue” in Moscow at a meeting between Keke and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. According to the Russian Kommersant newspaper, the island state is trading its position on the Georgian breakaway region for certain financial aid from The Kremlin. Kommersant writes that Nauru's requests are “quite moderate” compared to the financial support Russia had to give Nicaragua and Venezuela to obtain their recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions. “The agreed sum is about USD 50 mln, and Russia was asked to give this to sponsor “urgent socio-economic projects” on this coral island,” writes the newspaper on December 14.

“We are deeply certain that relations between the world's countries should be built regardless of their size or the position they have in the global arena. We consider that modern principles of democracy are based primarily on the priority of the individual, and that is the basis of international relations,” stated Murat Jioev, de facto Foreign Minister of South Ossetia.

If Nauru recognises the breakaway regions it will become the third country in the world to do so apart from Russia. Analysts consider that this is very important for The Kremlin, which has just failed to change Ecuador’s position despite offering it USD 200 mln. Georgian officials have not commented on this issue yet, promising to react when events develop further.

The Republic of Nauru is a tiny island state in the Western Pacific with a population of 14,000. It became an independent state in 1968 and joined the UN in 1999.