Lavrov to visit Abkhazia this week
18 April 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Abkhazia this week to open a new building for the Russian Embassy in the territory. Russia is one of only a handful of countries that recognises the independence of Abkhazia and both the visit and the context in which it is taking place are likely to be seen as an act of provocation by the Georgian government. The world community, apart from Russia still consider Abkhazia to be part of Georgia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Lavrov is expected to arrive in Sukhumi on Wednesday, 19 April. "The minister will take part in a gala ceremony of official opening of a new compound of the Russian embassy in Abkhazia," the Ministry said.

The Russian Ambassador in Abkhazia, Semyon Grigoryev told the TASS news agency  construction of the compound began in 2013. "On the basis of a government resolution, a land plot for building the embassy was allotted in October 2008. From now on, the embassy and the consulate will be located on the same territory in downtown Sukhum, near the Glory Memorial."

Sergei Lavrov will spend two days in Abkhazia. On Wednesday, April 19, he will have talks with President Raul Khadzhimba, national parliament speaker Valery Kvarchiya and Foreign Minister Daur Kove.

In its report announcing the visit the Tass news Agency said that "by recognizing Abkhazia's independence from Georgia in 2008, Russia acted as a guarantor of existence of the nation as an independent state and of a peaceful future for the Abkhazian people. The two countries are persistently developing their relationship on the basis of allied strategic partnership." political editor said in a comment that Lavrov's visit, and the context in which it is taking place will be seen as an act of provocation by the Georgian government. Although Georgia and Russia do not at present have diplomatic relations, the two sides have since 2012 established a channel for diplomatic communications, which operates in compliment with the ongoing Geneva Process, facilitated by the EU, UN and OSCE, that seeks to normalise relations between the two countries and manage the issues of Georgia's two separatist teritories - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The atmosphere of the talks in the Geneva Process is considered at the moment to be quite tense, Lavrov's visit is not going to help the process, and is likely to make relations between Russia and Georgia even more difficult."

source: with Tass News Agency, Moscow

Photo: A general view of Sukhumi (archive picture)