(Civil.Ge) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with new Abkhaz Foreign Minister Daur Kove on November 3, who paid the first visit to Moscow in his new capacity.
“During the meeting the sides discussed at length the ways of deepening bilateral relations as well as key avenues of cooperation in regional and international affairs, including participation in the Geneva International Discussions on security and stability in the Trans-Caucasus,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“The talks have revealed similar or identical positions on the issues discussed along with their mutual commitment to further intensify the diverse cooperation between our states,” it said.
“We are allies and this is the main prerequisite of the republic’s peaceful development,” Lavrov said in his opening remarks during talks with the Abkhaz Foreign Minister.
Daur Kove was appointed as the breakaway region’s foreign minister in early October after Vyacheslav Chirikba resigned from this post.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that bilateral relations with Sokhumi are based on firm legal framework involving “almost all the spheres of relations”. In this context, he mentioned Russia’s ratification of the treaty with Abkhazia on establishing a Combined Group of Forces that was condemned by Tbilisi as “yet another unlawful episode of factual annexation process” that “significantly threatens the stability of the entire region.”
Lavrov said that Moscow mostly focuses on social and economic cooperation. He also spoke about foreign issues and noted that Russia plans to strengthen its support of Abkhazia on the international arena.
“We hope for close coordination of actions in the context of the Geneva discussions on the South Caucasus, primarily, the promotion of legally binding agreements on the non-use of force, as envisaged in the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan that initiated international discussions on the security of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.
The non-use of force commitment is one of the key issues discussed by the negotiators for many rounds already in Geneva. Georgia, which made a unilateral non-use of force pledge in 2010, insists on Russia to reciprocate. But Russia refuses to make such a declaration as it does not consider itself to be a party in the conflict and instead wants Tbilisi to sign non-use of force treaties with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. In the Geneva talks participants have been discussing a possibility of adopting a joint statement on non-use of force for a long time already. Tbilisi wants the text of such statement to make a reference to the need of Moscow to undertake non-use of force pledge.
“I know that on November 9 you expect a delegation of mediators participating in the Geneva discussions. We will be interested in knowing your assessments of the forthcoming contacts,” Lavrov added.