The United States “strongly opposes” the Russian Federation’s ratification of a treaty with Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia on establishing Combined Group of Forces.
“We do not recognize the legitimacy of this so-called “treaty,” which does not constitute a valid international agreement,” State Department Spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimer Putin signed ratification of the treaty into law on November 22 after Russia’s State Duma and Federation Council ratified the treaty on November 2 and November 16, respectively; the breakaway region’s parliament ratified the same treaty in December 2015, a month after its signing.
Tbilisi condemned this process as “yet another unlawful episode of factual annexation process” that “significantly threatens the stability of the entire region.”
Russia and breakaway Abkhazia signed the treaty in November 2015, to define the ways for putting in practice the provisions of the Framework Agreement on “Alliance and Strategic Partnership,” signed a year ago. The Framework Agreement envisages creation of the “common security and defense space”, including the “combined group of forces” for the purpose of “repelling aggression”. The group will be led by the Russian military base deployed in Abkhazia.
The U.S Department of State said on November 22 that “the United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia remains clear: these regions are integral parts of Georgia, and we continue to support Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
“Russia should fulfill all of its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, and provide free access for humanitarian assistance to these regions,” it said.