Kokoity and Bagapsh visit Latin American states
By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, July 20
Delegations from the de facto Abkhazian and de facto South Ossetian republics are visiting Latin American states. This is the first “official visit” of the de facto leaders to Venezuela and Nicaragua since these two states recognised Georgia’s breakaway regions as independent.
De facto South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity landed in Nicaragua late on Sunday. The Tskhinvali delegation includes its Foreign Minister, Murat Jioev, Advisor to the de facto President Konstantin Kochiev and members of the de facto Parliament, according to Osinform news agency.
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos met the de facto delegation at the airport, the Ossetian media reported. The visit of Eduard Kokoity “fully complies with the dynamic of the development of relations between the two states,” the Minister noted. “Nicaragua pursues a policy of establishing close relations with all states, including South Ossetia, the independence of which we have recognised, and now we have invited the leader of this country for an official visit to Nicaragua,” he added. The Minister said that the Nicaraguan Government has “a number of projects we would like to offer to the South Ossetian delegation,” Osinform reported.
Eduard Kokoity said that he had accepted the invitation of the Nicaraguan President “with great pleasure.” “We are thankful to Mr. Daniel Ortega for his brave and fair decision to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We do not doubt that the freedom loving nation of Nicaragua will achieve its goal,” Kokoity said.
The de facto South Ossetian delegation arrived in Nicaragua a day and a half late, as Kokoity’s plane was forced to land in Helsinki due to technical problems. According to Osinform one of three engines of the plane stopped working. “Due to the technical security rules we were prohibited from flying over the ocean with a damaged engine,” Kokoity said, according to Osinform.
De facto Abkhazian leader Sergey Bagapsh also arrived in the capital of Nicaragua on July 18. Speaking to journalists at Managua Airport, Bagapsh expressed his “sincere happiness at arriving in the country of a heroic nation.” Bagapsh drew parallels between the “fate of the Abkhazian and the Nicaraguan nations.” “Abkhazians, having had their own experience of being independent, fought for a long period of time against the occupation of their country by the Georgian regime. 17 years ago our struggle ended with victory, however the road to recognition was very complicated,” the de facto Abkhazian leader said. “Abkhazia still feels pressure from the US and the Europe. It is a great pity that they do not understand that applying this pressure is senseless,” information agency Apsnypress quoted him as saying.
Officials in Tbilisi have condemned the recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions by Latin American states, saying that “they are the friends of Russia.” National Movement MP and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Territorial Integrity Issues Shota Malashkhia has said that the Georgian Government will raise this issue at “all international forums” and call on the international community to take sanctions against the states which have recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent.