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Russia’s Lavrov supports de facto Abkhazian ‘authorities’

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 20
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told so-called Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba that Russia supports the course of the de-facto authorities.

Lavrov arrived in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia on April 18 to open the so-called Russian embassy in Sokhumi and to hold several bilateral meetings with de facto authorities.

"We are interested in supporting your course, aimed at ensuring equal rights for everyone in order for citizens to feel peaceful here,” Lavrov told Khajimba.

This is the fourth visit of the Russian Foreign Minister to occupied Abkhazia since the 2008 August war.

"I am pleased to be here again. We visited the Russian Embassy in the central part in Sokhumi. There is a very comfortable environment for our employees. The fact that we have such a large embassy in Abkhazia once again underlines our alliance," Lavrov said.

The Russian diplomat also met the so-called Abkhazian Parliament Speaker, Valery Kvarchiya, and his counterpart, the republic's top envoy, Daur Kove.

"We have good plans, supported by two governments,” Lavrov noted.

Zurab Abashidze, the Special Representative of the Prime Minister for Relations with Russia, assessed Lavrov’s visit as a “blatant violation of the sovereignty of Georgia“.

"All this is a result of the aggression of 2008, which was followed by the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states by Russia,” Abashidze said.

Officials in Tbilisi say that the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Abkhazia “represents a continuation of Moscow’s provocative policy against the Georgian state”.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili called on the international community to condemn the so-called 'privileged interests’ policy of the Russian Federation.

“The visit of any foreign country’s representative to Georgia and the proper functioning of its permanent representation in the territory of Georgia is permissible only after obtaining prior consent from the Georgian Government. Otherwise, such actions are a gross violation of Georgian legislation and international law,” the President’s statement reads.

Margvelashvili added that the attempts of the Russian Federation to legitimize its military presence in the occupied territories of Georgia by implying alleged international relations opposes the Agreement of August 12 2008, and the fundamental principles of international law.