Russia ratifies 'Alliance' treaty with breakaway Abkhazia

Russia's state Duma ratifies so-called treaty on ‘alliance and strategic partnership ‘with Abkhazia today. Photo by Tass., 23 Jan 2015 - 16:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

Lawmakers from Russia's State Duma (the legislative body of the Russian Federation) have ratified a so-called treaty on ‘Alliance and Strategic Partnership' with Georgia's breakaway region Abkhazia today.

Russian news agency Tass stated the so-called deal was ratified with 441 votes to one, and one Member of Parliament abstained from the vote. 

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin highlighted that a merger between Georgia’s two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russia was "out of the question".

"We are not even talking about it,” Karasin told the Tass news agency.

The de-facto president of breakaway Abkhazia Raul Khajimba and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial ‘Alliance and Strategic Partnership’ deal in Sochi on November 24.

The so-called treaty envisaged creation of a common space of defence and security, including a common group involving Russian and Abkhazian armed forces.

The chairman of the State Duma’s CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Diaspora Relations Committee, Leonid Slutsky, emphasized that that the Russia-Abkhazia treaty would, in the first place, arrange the legal framework of inter-state relations, already based on nearly 80 bilateral agreements, the Russia-based news agency said.

Official Tbilisi assessed the ratification of the so-called treaty as a "gross violation" and annexation of Georgian territory and violation of international law.

Vice Speaker of Georgia’s Parliament Manana Kobakhidze said Russia's ratification of its so-called deal with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia was in retaliation to Georgia’s aspiration to move closer to Euro-Atlantic structures.

"It was Russia’s response to Georgia’s intention to become a member of the European family and NATO. Of course, these things are very connected, but despite the challenges that come from the Russian Federation we are strongly committed to our foreign policy,” Kobakhidze said.

She emphasized that this issue should be discussed at international level of negotiations.

"We want to peacefully solve any kind of violence and conflict. We have already taken these steps. You know that the new Government's relations with Russia are de-escalation, normalisation and peacefully solving problems but we see totally inadequate responses from the Russian side," she said.

The Georgian President's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Tengiz Pkhaladze said ratification of the Russia-Abkhazia treaty "cannot be considered a legal act" as it was between an annexed area and the occupant. 

"This was expected and unfortunately, nothing is new in this news. Russia openly talks about its intentions and not only speaks, but acts. We urged those about threats from Russia at all international negotiation level and condemned Russia’s annexation. We try to take active steps for future prevention.” Pkhakadze said.

The Abkhazian Parliament ratified the so-called treaty with Russia on December 22 last year and the deal came into force on January 1, 2015.

Soon after Moscow signed the 'Alliance and Strategic Partnership' treaty with Abkhazia in late November, the de facto leader of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), Georgia's other breakaway region, also expressed interest in signing a similar agreement with Russia.

The draft agreement with South Ossetia outlined much deeper integration of the region with Russia than the one signed between Moscow and Sokhumi. At the time Tskhinvali's so-called leader Leonid Tibilov expressed his vision about the breakaway region’s accession into Russia, and asked whether that could be included in the proposed integration treaty between Moscow and Tskhinvali.

Meanwhile,  European and American leaders condemned the Russia-Abkhazia treaty as an attempt at annexation.