MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Defense cooperation between Moscow and Sukhum is important taking into account Georgia’s position on reaching non-use of force agreements and its intention to join NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement ahead of Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Abkhazia due on April 18-19.
"The situation in the region remains tense so defense cooperation seems particularly important," the statement reads. "Georgia still claims the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, refuses to make non-use of force agreements with them and emphasizes its intention to join NATO. In accordance with bilateral agreements, a Russian military base has been set up in Abkhazia while Russian border guards have been assisting in protecting the republic’s borders with Georgia."
Delegations of Russia and Abkhazia have been closely cooperating during the Geneva Discussions on Security and Stability in the South Caucasus. "The negotiating process particularly aims at ensuring lasting security of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement adds. "It is the only one official platform where Abkhazia is represented," the ministry stressed. "In Geneva, representatives of Russia and Abkhazia advocate a common position on issues important for regional security, including the need to reach non-use of force agreements and oppose confrontational actions taken by Georgian diplomats on the international level taking into consideration Georgia’s cooperation with NATO."