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Georgia's NATO bid prompts new treaty between Abkhazia, Russia, says foreign minister

A new treaty under way between Russia and Abkhazia is prompted by an aggressive policy of Georgia, Abkhazian Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba told Abkhazian television on Saturday.

"Security in the southern flank is very important for Abkhazia and Russia. We are on the same page here," the foreign minister said in comments on a draft treaty on alliance and integration.

"We must act together, as Georgia plans accession to NATO, and the U.S. is actively lobbying Georgia's membership of the North Atlantic Alliance," Chirikba said.

"Many high-ranking officials from NATO visit Georgia for talks. We don't know the subject matter of the talks but it is clear that they are preparing their structure and personnel for NATO membership," he said, adding that this would be a direct threat to Abkhazia and Russia.

"If Georgia were a peaceful country, there would be no need for such large-scale treaties," he said. The new document would have a lot in common with the previous treaty of 2008, he said.

"On the whole, a need for a new agreement is clear as the situation is changing for the worse," he said, citing a difficult situation in Ukraine, in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq.

Abkhazia sought independence from Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Deterioration of relations between Georgia and Abkhazia reached its peak in the 1990s and led to armed clashes that left about 20,000 people killed. In 1994, Abkhazia adopted its own constitution and declared independence from Georgia. A referendum in 1999 supported the republic's statehood, but it was never accepted by the international community.

In early August 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Abkhazia backed Russia's operation to coerce Georgia into peace and asked Moscow to recognize its sovereignty. After the 2008 conflict, Moscow declared that it would formally recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Venezuela, Nicaragua and the tiny Pacific island of Nauru followed suit in recognizing Abkhazia, but the rest of the world considers both territories part of Georgia.

[Source: Itar Tass, Sukhum, Abkhazia, 25Oct14]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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