Georgia and Vanuatu have signed an agreement on establishing diplomatic and consular relations that, as Tbilisi says, has put an end to the confusion and uncertainty over recognition of breakaway Abkhazia by this small island state.
The protocol on establishing diplomatic relations, which was signed at the UN headquarters on July 12, states that “the Republic of Vanuatu recognizes territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, including its regions - the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia,” according to the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
“Aforesaid underscores the decision of Vanuatu to put an end to the previously existing confusion in this regard and represents an unambiguous support to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as unequivocal respect for fundamental principles of international law,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Vanuatu recognized Abkhazia in May, 2011 but retracted its recognition shortly after change of government in early June, 2011; but then one local official reportedly reaffirmed the recognition. However, in late June 2011 Vanuatu 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 in April, 2012 Russia was listing Vanuatu among those countries, which were recognizing Abkhazia.
In March, 2013 Vanuatu’s Foreign Ministry denied setting up of diplomatic ties with Abkhazia. In May President Saakashvili met Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Moana Carcasses Kalosil, in Thai city of Chiang Mai and thanked him for his government’s decision to retract recognition of breakaway Abkhazia.
Apart of Russia, Georgia’s breakaway regions have been recognized by Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Tuvalu.
“Georgia welcomes the establishment of diplomatic relations with Vanuatu and hopes that Vanuatu's decision will serve as an example to those states of the Pacific, which have recognized Georgia's occupied territories through violation of the fundamental principles of international law,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.