SUKHUM, September 3. /TASS/. Abkhazia and Venezuela are preparing to sign an agreement on visa-free travel for nationals of both countries, Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Chirikba said on Thursday.
"Preparations are underway to sign an agreement that will bring our nations even closer, namely on the abolition of visas. This accord is similar to the one signed between Abkhazia and South Ossetia - on visa-free travel for citizens," Chirikba said after talks between Abkhazia’s leader Raul Khadjimba and Venezuela's envoy Juan Vicente Paredes Torrealba.
Torrealba, who serves as both ambassador to Russia and ambassador to Belarus, met the president of Abkhazia in the capital Sukhum to present his credentials.
"Abkhazia and Venezuela are genuinely friendly and fraternal states. The current political dialogue and close positions on most important international issues confirm this," Khadjimba said at a credentials ceremony. The president expressed hope that the new ambassador "will make every effort to further strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding between Abkhazia and Venezuela."
"We will deepen our relations with Abkhazia in economy, tourism, culture and other spheres," Torrealba said.
In early August 2008, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, Abkhazia backed Russia’s operation to coerce Georgia into peace and asked Moscow to recognise its sovereignty. After the 2008 conflict Moscow declared that it would formally recognise the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia's allies Nicaragua and Venezuela followed the suit, as did a number of small Pacific island states.