Georgia’s two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, announced, that they had been recognized by Tuvalu – the tiny South Pacific island nation for which the Georgian government pledged USD 12,000 in financial aid last year.
Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world covering just 26 square kilometers with a population of less than 12,000 people.
Both Sokhumi and Tskhinvali reported about establishing diplomatic ties with Tuvalu on September 23 saying that the agreement was signed with Tuvalu’s PM Willy Telavi (PM’s second name is similar to the one of the main town of Kakheti region in eastern Georgia).
According to the breakaway regions’ authorities, the agreement was signed with PM Telavi, who took the office in December, 2010, in Sokhumi on September 18 and in Tskhinvali on September 19. Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress posted on its website a small photo of signing ceremony.
An official from the Tuvalu’s permanent mission to the UN could not immediately confirm or deny the report, telling Civil.ge via phone from New York on September 23, that she was not able to check it with her country’s ambassador, who was accompanying PM Telavi on his bilateral meetings on the sideline of the UN General Assembly. She could not either confirm or deny that PM Telavi was in Tskhinvali and Sokhumi, but said that he was in Russia several days ago.
Last September the Georgian government approved a decree allocating USD 12,000 in financial aid to the permanent mission of Tuvalu to the UN for the purpose of covering the cost of “transpiration of medical cargo” from the United States to Tuvalu.
In February, 2011 Georgia, through its permanent representative to the UN, established diplomatic relations with Tuvalu with both sides pledging to be “guided by principles of friendly relations, national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-violability of state borders.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has yet to react on reported recognition of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali by Tuvalu.
The breakaway Abkhazia’s foreign ministry said that Tuvalu had become the sixth UN-member state to have recognized Abkhazia.
Among those six countries Sokhumi also counts Vanuatu (other four are Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the smallest island nation of Nauru); there has been and probably still is much uncertainty about this reported recognition of Abkhazia by Vanuatu, the small island state in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.
Vanuatu recognized Abkhazia in May, but retracted its recognition shortly after change of government in early June; but then one local official reportedly reaffirmed the recognition. However, in late June Vanuatu, like Tuvalu, was among those nations who voted in favor of Georgia-sponsored and Russian-opposed resolution in the UN General Assembly reaffirming right of IDPs to return to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But the statement reaffirming recognition of Abkhazia is still posted on the homepage of Vanuatu government’s website.