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Russian foreign minister to visit Abkhazia on Oct. 2-3

RIA Novosti

15:22 29/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay an official visit to Abkhazia on October 2-3, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Andrei Nesterenko said Lavrov is scheduled to hold talks with Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh and Sergei Shamba, the foreign minister of the former Georgian republic.

"The sides will discuss issues of further development of friendly relations between our countries, the establishment of full-format intergovernmental interaction, provision of assistance to Abkhazia in the spheres of security, cooperation in international affairs, and training of diplomats for the republic," Nesterenko said.

Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia last August after a five-day war with Georgia over the latter, which was attacked by Tbilisi in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Nesterenko said that the sides would also discuss issues concerning international recognition of Abkhazia.

"Besides Russia and Nicaragua the independence of Abkhazia has been also recognized recently by Venezuela. Obviously expanding the process of international recognition of Abkhazia will help further establish the sovereignty of the republic," the spokesman said.

Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help South Ossetia and Abkhazia protect their borders, and Moscow pledged significant financial support to rebuild the republics, which had been de facto independent since the early 1990s.

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