Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, met his counterparts from breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Viacheslav Chirikba and David Sanakoev, respectively, in Moscow on April 25.
Lavrov, Chirikba and Sanakoev signed a plan for cooperation between the foreign ministries in 2014-2015.
“This is our good tradition, which envisages systematization of contacts through foreign ministries on key directions of our alliance and partnership on the international arena; these are about regional problems, external relations of our friends and allies and issues of concern of countries of the Caucasus region,” Lavrov said.
Abkhaz Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba said it’s “a road map” for cooperation, which “we are going to fully implement” and South Ossetian Foreign Minister David Sanakoev said that despite of “fast-changing” international situation “our relations remain stable.”
After the signing ceremony Lavrov awarded Chirikba and Sanakoev with Russian Foreign Ministry’s highest award – the badge “For Contribution to International Cooperation.”
Earlier on April 25, Lavrov touched upon Georgia’s breakaway regions while speaking at a forum of young diplomats from CIS in Moscow.
When asked by an Abkhaz participant of the forum about opinion of some pundits comparing Crimea with Abkhazia, Lavrov responded: “I have not heard the Abkhaz people, Abkhaz leadership raising the issue of following suit of Crimea” to join Russia.
“There is no such stance – I do not know about such [stance],” he said.
“We respect the will of the Abkhaz people, which has chosen independence. It is our strategic partner, our ally and we will be helping comprehensively Abkhazia and South Ossetia in implementing the course chosen by their people,” Lavrov said.
Authorities in breakaway Abkhazia ruled out in March possibility of holding a referendum on joining Russia. “It should be emphasized that the issue of joining the Russian Federation is not raised and is not even discussed in the Republic of Abkhazia, either by the public or by the authorities. Therefore, a referendum on this issue is out of the question,” Abkhaz leader’s spokesperson said on March 25.