Ghvinjia: Vanuatu recognizes Abkhazia
By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, June 2
The Pacific island of Vanuatu has joined a short list of countries, which have recognized Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia as an independent state. The de facto Foreign Minister of Abkhazia, Maxim Ghvinjia told journalists on Tuesday that Vanuatu has become the fifth state after Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru to recognize Abkhazia as an independent entity. “We’ve managed to reach recognition from the Republic of Vanuatu and we are very happy about it,” the de facto official told Russian journalists, adding that the negotiations had been in progress for several months.
“If there was no open pressure from the US and the Western European states, much more countries would have recognized Abkhazia,” BBC’s Russian service quoted Ghvinjia as saying “Vanuatu turned out to be a bold, independent state and has really demonstrated its will. Despite the possible pressure, they were not afraid and recognized [Abkhazia as an independent state],” he continued, adding that Abkhazia’s recognition is important not only from a political but also from an economical standpoint.
The de facto authorities have assessed establishing diplomatic ties with Vanuatu as a “historical” event. “The Abkhazian government welcomes this important, historical and brave step of the government of the Republic of Vanuatu, which will give a new impulse to the development of cooperation with the Pacific region states,” the de facto Foreign Ministry statement reads. Meanwhile the de facto Abkhazian top diplomat has told Interfax news agency that “with this decision, made despite the international pressure, the Republic of Vanuatu has contributed to establishing peace and security in the Caucasus region.”
The Republic of Vanuatu is an island state, situated in the South Pacific Ocean on a volcanic archipelago spread on 12 190 square kilometers. According to the 2009 census, the population of Vanuatu is up to 243 thousand people.
There has been no official statement by Georgian authorities so far, however in separate comments the authorities stress on “virtual reality existing in the world.” MP from the ruling National Movement Party Davit Darchiashvili downplayed the reports about Vanuatu’s recognition of Abkhazia as an independent state, saying that the world is divided in three parts: strong democratic states, odious marginalized regimes and less known states, which “actually exist only on papers.”
“Any country has to choose its partners. We can make two divisions here: real and virtual, Real partnership is for example signing a visa facilitation and readmission agreement with the European Union, meeting with Joseph Biden and participating in celebrations of Italy’s 150th anniversary,” Darchiashvili noted “while, Russian money and media images are virtual, and as you know virtual reality usually burst like a soap bubble,” the MP added.
Georgian officials have suggested that in return to their recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, Russia is paying states like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru. According to the data released by the Russian newspaper the Kommersant, Moscow has spent USD 3.25 billion in total in return to the recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions by paying USD 2.2 billion to Venezuela, USD 1 billion to Nicaragua and USD 50 million to Nauru.