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Abkhazia thanks Russia on Independence Day

Posted by Kris Roman on September 30, 2008


Abkhazia thanked Russia on Tuesday for the economic and political support it has provided since a separatist war with Georgia 15 years ago.

Abkhazia celebrated Independence Day, its first since Russia recognized the Black Sea province and the other Georgian rebel region, South Ossetia, as sovereign states late last month.

Speaking at a reception attended by delegations from Russia’s neighboring southern regions, as well as Russian Foreign Ministry officials and lawmakers, Abkhazian leader Sergei Bagapsh said: “For the peoples of the Caucasus, Russia is the main guarantor of security and peace.”

Bagapsh expressed his personal gratitude to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In a congratulatory letter to Bagapsh earlier on Tuesday, Medvedev pledged to continue to provide “maximum assistance in security, economic development and creating conditions for a decent life for people” in Abkhazia.

Russia recognized the breakaway regions after repelling Georgia’s attempt to retake South Ossetia in early August. The conflict sparked alarm among Western countries, which have largely sided with Georgia. Tbilisi has accused Moscow of annexing its territories.

Nicaragua has so far been the only other country to recognize the disputed republics.

Abkhazia broke away from Georgian control after the 1992-1993 war, when about 3,000 people were killed and more than 5,000 wounded on the Abkhazian side alone.

A military parade took place on Victory Square in Abkhazia’s capital, Sukhumi, on Tuesday to mark the holiday, attracting large crowds.


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