Former US Ambassador: Russia is trying to isolate Georgia’s breakaway territories

Kenneth Yalowitz gave an interview to a Georgian radio based in USA, Voice of America today., 21 Nov 2014 - 14:23, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Kremlin-proposed ‘Alliance and Integration’ agreement between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia will lead to big problems in the region, former Ambassador to Georgia Kenneth Yalowitz says.

The agreement is due to be signed by the end of the year.

In an interview with US-based Georgian radio show Voice of America, Yalowitz spoke about the problems facing Georgia’s occupied territories Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia). He believed the agreement would lead to Abkhazia being regarded as an extension of Russia.

"I am very concerned and yes, this will affect the region. I know that demonstrations were held in Tbilisi over this issue. Questions were raised by Abkhazia as well and I think even they are not fully satisfied with this,” he said.

"Coming out from what I know about this treaty, if it is fulfilled Russia will add de-facto Abkhazia [to its territory].”

He said the ‘Alliance and Integration’ treaty was another stage of gradual withdrawal of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali from Georgia.

"The process has [already] begun, with distributing Russian passports, imposing trade preferences, war, [and] declaring independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is only recognised by two countries besides Russia,” Yalowitz noted.

"Signing the treaty practically means adding this part of Georgia to Russia’s territory. We have a precedent of the 2008 war as well, when Russia started to change borders and cut off territories of a sovereign country. In the recent history, 20 percent of Georgia’s territory has been lost,” he added.

The former Ambassador also noted a similar thing happened in Ukraine when Russia openly, forcefully annexed Crimea.