"Georgia must sign an agreement on not using force against Abkhazia and South Ossetia" - Russian Foreign Ministry
Russia demands Georgia enter agreement
“Russia is interested in strengthening relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia and requires Georgia to sign an agreement on the non-use of force with these countries,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on February 13.
“By recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia fifteen years ago, the Russian Federation ensured their security and development. The majority of the population of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has Russian citizenship and is in favor of strengthening the alliance with Russia […] The support that Russia received from Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the ongoing special operation in Ukraine is an example of true alliance,” Zakharova said.
“We are striving to deepen relations with the Transcaucasian republics. Russian military bases operate in these territories and joint protection of state borders is carried out in order to prevent possible provocations, which is relevant in the new geopolitical reality.
Therefore we demand that Georgia sign a binding agreement on the non-use of force against these countries. We believe that this will be a guarantee of stability in the region.”
Zakharova also said that Russia remains the main trading partner of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. An important role in their relations is assigned to the promotion of socio-economic development.
“For each of these republics, investment programs are underway to create new businesses and jobs, and the combination of these measures contributes to the growth of GDP, increasing the welfare of citizens and investment attractiveness.
Joint activities in the field of education, culture, science and sports serve to consolidate the peoples of our countries [Russia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia]. Civil servants and teachers are taking refresher courses at Russian universities,” Zakharova declared.
According to her, thanks to various grants, “talented youth participate in international forums and competitions held under the auspices of Russia,” and special attention is being given to “patriotic actions” associated with “memorable dates of the common history”.
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On February 8, Abkhazian Foreign Minister Inal Ardzinba and the head of the State Security Service stated that “with outside support, anti-Russian sentiments are being fomented in Abkhazia” and promised to “take strict measures against such elements.”
The intentions of the government and the statement itself caused discontent in the Abkhazian society. A joint statement by public organizations says that such “statements without specific names and facts are unacceptable.” In their opinion, the presence of such information in the press is more like propaganda, manipulation of public opinion and intimidation of citizens. “This is speculation on our relationship with the Russian Federation,” the statement said.