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21 Apr, 2008 04:02

Abkhazia awaits UN reaction to Russia’s overtures

Georgia's Foreign Minister David Bakradze is on his way to the U.S. to seek UN support in an ongoing row with Russia. It follows Moscow’s decision last week to strengthen ties with Georgia’s breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The UN Security C

Bakradze claims Russia’s action is an attempt by Moscow to annex the areas.

However, most of the population in Abkhazia speak Russian and hold Russian passports.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, back in the early 1990s, the region has been embroiled in conflict. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia want independence from Georgia. Armed conflict ended in fragile ceasefires, which are maintained by UN peacekeepers most of them Russian troops.

Abkhazia has subsequently declared its independence, which has yet to be internationally recognised

The situation had remained relatively stable up until recently. But that changed when Kosovo unilaterally declared its sovereignty, backed by Washington and many EU countries.

Abkhazians say they are just as entitled to indendence as Kosovo is.

Now Russia has showed it shares this view and has taken steps towards recognising the de-facto state.

Last week Russia made a decision to intensify its co-operation with the republic, which it says is intended to support and protect the rights of Russian citizens living here.

Georgia has condemned the move, saying it violates its sovereignty. This is a view shared by the EU and other Western Governments. They have been calling for Russia to rethink its position.

A UN Security Council is to discuss the issue later on Monday.