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Russian lawmakers ratify strategic partnership agreement with Abkhazia

The accord envisages creation of a joint defense and security space, including establishment of a unified group of the Russian and Abkhazian armed forces

MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Lawmakers from Russia's parliamentary lower house, the State Duma, ratified on Friday a treaty on allied relations and strategic partnership between Russia and Abkhazia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abkhazia’s leader Raul Khadjimba signed the agreement in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on November 24, 2014. The accord envisages creation of “a joint defense and security space”, including establishment of a unified group of the Russian and Abkhazian armed forces, and stipulates Russian “protection of the state border of the Republic of Abkhazia with Georgia.”

“Should either side be attacked by some other state or a group of states, this will be regarded as an act of aggression against the other side,” the treaty says. Russia and Abkhazia will be jointly guarding the Georgian-Abkhazian border and also sea areas to which the sovereignty of the Republic of Abkhazia applies.

The agreement also obliges Russia to facilitate “in every possible way” growing Abkhazia's international ties and promoting its global recognition.

Leonid Slutsky, chairing the State Duma's committee on Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots, said on Thursday ratification of the treaty would be an important milestone in relations between Russia and Abkhazia.

“The treaty will lay the foundation for the closest interstate integration and better bilateral cooperation,” he said, noting that the two states had already concluded more than 80 interstate agreements covering almost all areas of cooperation.

“The treaty continues the policy of close cooperation in social and economic spheres, security and foreign affairs,” Slutsky added.