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Russia’s FM Lavrov Claims Moscow Respects Georgia’s Territorial Integrity

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 11
(VIENNA)—While attending an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in Vienna, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed the Kremlin respects Georgia’s territorial integrity, despite recognizing the rebel governments of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as the legal representatives of independent states.

Lavrov made the comments after a Georgian journalist asked whether Russia intended to de-occupy the regions, which are internationally recognized as a part of Georgia.

“As for territorial integrity, we respect Georgia’s borders, as well as the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Lavrov answered.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said in response that the international community would not allow the current situation in the two Russian-backed rebel regions to be formally adopted by international law.

"This is a policy that opposes the principles of the OSCE. The territorial integrity of Georgia is recognized by the international community. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are parts of Georgia,” Janelidze said.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as independent republics in the wake of the Russia-Georgia 2008 War.

Only the Kremlin’s close allies -Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru – have followed Moscow in formally recognizing the secessionist governments.