A Russian alliance treaty between Moscow and Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia is an obstacle to peacefully resolving the conflict, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman.
The "Alliance and Strategic Partnership” treaty, signed on November 24 and condemned by Georgia and the international community, "would foster Georgian fears that this region was gradually being annexed by Russia,” Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday.
"By this treaty Moscow is complicating the efforts peacefully resolving the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the framework of the Geneva Talks,” Seibert said.
He reaffirmed Germany "supports Georgia’s territorial integrity” and backed the Caucasus nation’s Association Agreement with the European Union (EU).
"We will continue to support Georgia in its efforts to peacefully reintegrate the breakaway regions, implement the EU association and form good neighborly relations with Russia,” Seibert said.
Russian president Vladimir Putin signed the controversial treaty with de facto Abkhaz leader Raul Khadzhimba in Sochi on Monday. The deal will come into effect on January 1, 2015.
The Georgian Government condemned the treaty and called it "de facto annexation” of its territory.
Abkhazia declared independence in 1999 following a separatist war. Now, the Abkhazia region is recognised as an independent nation by four countries - Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.
Russia recognised Abkhazia's independence after a five-day war with Georgia in 2008 when it helped the separatist region of South Ossetia break away from Georgia.