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NOVO-OGARYOVO, August 27, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and Abkhazia are prepared to deepen integration in many spheres of cooperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Abkhazia’s president-elect Raul Khadzhimba.
“I had the pleasure of congratulating you upon your election as Abkhazia’s president and now I have the pleasure to do so in person,” Putin told Khadzhimba said adding that they were old-time acquaintances.
“You are a supporter of wider relations between Russia and Abkhazia, of deeper integration processes, and this concerns defence and security issues, law enforcement, struggle against crime, the economy and the social sphere,” Putin said. “I fully agree with you in the sense we should do our utmost to achieve the introduction of new standards in the health service, pension insurance and a number of other crucial issues.”
Khadzhimba said that all these issues “are important to tiny Abkhazia and we have no doubts that they will be built up from.”
“This concerns military issues, border security and the socio-economic sphere,” Khadzhimba said. “We are prepared to go ahead with the dialogue and to discuss this theme. I am certain that all these issues will be settled positively.”
A new treaty of friendship and cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia will be concluded by the end of this year, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after Putin’s meeting with Khadzhimba.
“The two men discussed the possibility of and need for concluding a new treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and Abkhazia by the end of this year,” Peskov said.
The purpose of a new treaty, he added, was to propel the level of integration between the two sovereign states to a qualitatively new level.