Foreign relations of Abkhazia

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The Republic of Abkhazia is a partially recognized state in the South Caucasus that declared independence from Georgia during the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993). At the time, the Soviet Union had only just recently collapsed (in 1991). Since 1992, Abkhazia has sought recognition as a sovereign state from the international community. Abkhazia is considered by most of the international community to be a part of Georgia.

Abkhazia maintains relations with 5 United Nations (UN) member states and 3 other partially recognized states. Transnistria – claimed by Moldova – recognized Abkhazia on 22 January 1993, and Abkhazia reciprocated. Subsequently, Abkhazia arranged mutual recognitions with South Ossetia (on 20 September 2005) – also claimed by Georgia – and Artsakh (on 14 November 2006) – claimed by Azerbaijan. Abkhazia was central to the Russo-Georgian War (12 days in August 2008), alongside South Ossetia. Shortly after the war, Russia recognized Abkhazia (26 August 2008), the first UN member state to do so.

As of October 2022, Abkhazia has obtained and retains recognition from four other UN member states: Nicaragua (5 September 2008), Venezuela (10 September 2009), Nauru (15 December 2009), and Syria (31 May 2018). Abkhazia has also obtained recognition from a few states that have revoked that recognition later on; these include Vanuatu (2011–2013) and Tuvalu (2011–2014). Abkhazia maintains unofficial contacts with a few other countries: Northern Cyprus (2008) (claimed by Cyprus), Belarus (2008, 2009, 2020), Italy (2011), San Marino (2011), Eritrea (2014), North Korea (2017, 2018), Iran (2021), and Yemen (2021).

The Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic arranged mutual recognition with Abkhazia in early 2022, but they were annexed by Russia on 30 September 2022.

Relations with sovereign states and partially recognized states[edit]

Foreign relations of Abkhazia
  diplomatic relations and recognition
  diplomatic recognition only
State Date of diplomatic recognition Diplomatic relations established Notes
 Artsakh 17 November 2006 12 February 2010

On November 17, 2006, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh (now Artsakh Republic) recognized each other's independence. Abkhazia and Artsakh Republic have various formal and informal diplomatic contacts.

 Nauru 15 December 2009 29 September 2016

On December 15, 2009, Nauru became the fourth UN member state to recognize Abkhazia. Abkhazia and Republic of Nauru have various formal and informal diplomatic contacts.

 Nicaragua 5 September 2008 10 September 2009

On September 5, 2008, Nicaragua became the second UN member state to recognize Abkhazia. Abkhazia has a non-resident embassy in Caracas and Nicaragua has a non-resident embassy in Moscow. In 2011, the government of Abkhazia appointed an honorary consul for the Nicaraguan side. Respectively in 2020, the Nicaraguan government appointed an honorary consul for the Abkhazian side.

 Russia 26 August 2008 9 September 2008

On August 26, 2008, Russia became the first UN member state to recognize Abkhazia. Russian Federation has resident embassy with Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador residing in Sukhumi. Abkhazia has a resident embassy with a Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador residing in Moscow.

 South Ossetia 19 September 2005 [note 1] 26 September 2007[1]

Abkhazia and South Ossetia officially recognised each other's independence on 19 September 2005. Abkhazia has a resident embassy with an Ambassador residing in Tskhinvali and South Ossetia has a resident embassy with Ambassador residing in Sukhumi.

 Syria 29 May 2018 4 September 2018

On May 29, 2018, Syria became the fifth UN Member state to recognize Abkhazia.[2] Prior to this, Abkhazia and Syria had various formal and informal diplomatic meetings. Abkhazia and Syria reported that they would open embassies and exchange Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassadors to Sukhumi and Damascus. In October 2020, the Abkhaz embassy in Damascus opened.[3]

 Transnistria 22 January 1993 or before[note 1] 18 January 2007

Abkhazia and Transnistria officially recognised each other's independence. Abkhazia has a representative office with Plenipotentiary Representative in Tiraspol and Transnistria has a representative office with Plenipotentiary Representative in Sukhumi.

 Venezuela 10 September 2009 12 July 2010

On September 10, 2009, Venezuela became the third UN member state to recognize Abkhazia. Abkhazia has an embassy with a resident Ambassador in Caracas since 2010 and Venezuela has a non-resident embassy with an Ambassador residing in Moscow.

Relations with subnational entities[edit]

State Date of diplomatic recognition Diplomatic relations established Notes
 Donetsk People's Republic

 Luhansk People's Republic

25 February 2022

Donetsk and Luhansk recognized Abkhazia in 2015, however Abkhazia did not recognize them at that time.[4] On 22 February 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement welcoming the recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.[5] On 25 February 2022 President Aslan Bzhania announced the recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic.[6]

The DPR and LPR were annexed by Russia on 30 September 2022. The annexations are internationally unrecognized.

States that have withdrawn recognition[edit]

Foreign policy[edit]

Even though Abkhazia has not been recognized by many states, it has unofficial relations with several UN member states. It engages often unofficially with states. Often, the Circassian diaspora is used as a mean to establish links to states of the Middle East.[9][10][11]

Belarus[edit]

According to the Deputy Prime Minister of Abkhazia, Kan Taniya, the Abkhaz relations to Belarus are high on the priority list of Abkhazia.[12] In 1995, Belarus was opposed to the CIS sanctions against Abkhazia.[13] Bilateral relations between Belarus and Georgia were strained during the Georgian Presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, during which Abkhazia was recognised by Russia. In March 2009, President Lukashenko referred to Abkhaz president Sergey Bagapsh as "the President of Abkhazia" in an official statement when the two met in Moscow.[14] The two discussed economic cooperation, with Lukashenko stating "much work emerges after gaining independence, we would be happy if Belarus' involvement could help to solve problems in this region."[15] In November 2009, Belarusian lawmakers visited Tbilisi, Sukhumi, and Tskhinvali on simultaneous fact-finding missions to inform a decision on whether to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[16] Despite these actions and Russian pressure, Belarus never recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Bilateral relations between Belarus and Georgia improved over the same period, and in April 2015 – during the Georgian Presidency of Giorgi Margvelashvili – Lukashenko paid his first official visit to Georgia, during which he explicitly noted his support of Georgia's territorial integrity.[14] Since then, Georgia buys Belarus tractors "and other equipment that we would not otherwise buy", according to Georgian economist Paata Sheshelidze.[17] In 2021, an OSCE expert guessed that Belarus might be one of the next countries to recognize Abkhazia.[18]

Eritrea[edit]

In June 2014, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Eritrea in the Russian Federation Teklay Minassie Asgedom and Head of the Department of Asia and the Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea Kalekristos Zariseney Gebreyezus met with a delegation from Abkhazia.[19]

Israel[edit]

In 2004, Abkhazia asked Israel to recognize the country. Six years later, mutual visits became more frequent.[20] In 2011, a delegation of the Israeli security firm Global CST visited Abkhazia. Representatives of Global CST declared their readiness to provide non-offensive military technologies, security equipment, and medicine, as well as invest into the agricultural sector, tourism, and mining.[21][22] In 2017, Abkhaz foreign minister Daur Kove visited Israel and participated in an international round table "Status of the unrecognized states and their relations with Israel" which took place in Tel Aviv University on 8 November 2017. During his trip, Kove held a number of working meetings including with Alon Davidi, the Mayor of Sderot and with Alexander Shane, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Israel.[23]

North Korea[edit]

In December 2017, the North Korean Chamber of Commerce contacted then-Abkhaz prime minister Gennadi Gagulia. Subsequently, an Abkhaz delegation visited Pyongyang (August 2018) and a North Korean delegation visited Sukhumi (November 2018). According to the Director of International Relations at the Chamber of Commerce of North Korea, companies of the construction business, the food and textile industry, logistics companies are interested in working with Abkhazia. Additionally, North Korean workers could be sent to the Black Sea country.[citation needed] In 2019, about 400 North Korean workers settled in Abkhazia.[24] In 2021, an OSCE expert guessed that North Korea might be one of the next countries to recognize Abkhazia.[18] Abkhazia rejects a diplomatic recognition by North Korea solely for geopolitical reasons.[25]

Turkey[edit]

The most cordial of the Abkhaz relations with UN member states without official diplomatic recognition are with Turkey. Turkey does not follow the Georgian embargo rules and the country hosts a large Abkhaz diaspora.

United States[edit]

In 2008, the United States government of George W. Bush informally tried to establish contacts with the Abkhaz government.[26]

Partially recognized states[edit]

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic,[27] and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus[28] welcomed Russian recognition of Abkhazia.[29][30][31]

In 2007, members of the parliaments and civil society organizations from Northern Cyprus and Western Sahara observed the Abkhazian parliamentary election.[32]

Visa problems[edit]

Several states which do not recognise Abkhazia routinely refuse visa applications of Abkhazians, even though the application is made in Moscow on the basis of the person's dual Russian citizenship.

In October 2006 the American embassy denied a visa to Minister for Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia Sergei Shamba, who was to attend a UN Security Council discussion in New York City on the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia.[33]

In February 2009 the Indian embassy denied visas to two Abkhazian women employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who had been invited by the Jawaharlal Nehru University to attend an international conference. In response, Foreign Minister Shamba sent letters to Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and to the Ambassador of India to Russia, Prabhat Prakash Shukla. The letters protested the very unfriendly attitude towards Abkhazia, pointed out that the applicants’ Russian citizenship had not been taken into account and warned that Abkhazia might respond in kind, denying visas to any future Indian visitors.[34]

On 17 March 2009 the Spanish embassy in Moscow refused visas for the members of the Abkhazian Futsal team, which was to take part in the first Copa de les Nacions de Futsal in Catalonia.[35]

On 13 May 2009, the German embassy in Russia initially denied a visa for a sick Abkhazian 16-year-old boy who was to undergo a complicated operation in a Munich clinic. Foreign Minister of Abkhazia Sergei Shamba said "such actions are out of line with universal humanitarian principles and are a direct violation of Abkhazian residents' rights."[36] However, the next day the German embassy in Moscow issued the visa, stating that the delay was due to the need to coordinate with their consulate in Tbilisi, which normally handles visas.[37]

Diplomatic missions[edit]

Offices in Abkhazia[edit]

Abkhazian missions[edit]

Membership in international organizations[edit]

Abkhazia belongs to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Community for Democracy and Human Rights.

Cooperation with international organizations[edit]

In 2012, the Abkhaz foreign minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a representative of ALBA.[38]

International economic relations[edit]

The National Bank of the Republic of Abkhazia has maintained its baseline interest rate for 11 years. Debt is negligible, external liabilities are just 5.6 per cent of GDP, and Abkhazia has never reported a balance of payments deficit.[39]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b The date, when Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria recognize each other is not clear. Abkhazia and Transnistria signed a Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation on 22 January 1993, South Ossetia and Transnistria a Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation on 12 October 1994 and Abkhazia and South Ossetia a Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation on 19 September 2005.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Страница не найдена". Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Countries that recognized South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's independence".
  3. ^ "Sokhumi Opens Embassy in Damascus". Civil Georgia. 6 October 2020. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  4. ^ Kucera, Joshua (2022-02-22). "Putin's Donbas recognition reverberates in Caucasus". eurasianet. Retrieved 2022-06-26.
  5. ^ "Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia". Minister for Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia. 2022-02-22. Archived from the original on 22 February 2022. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  6. ^ "Abkhazia recognises Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk". OC Media. 25 February 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Tuvalu Retracts Abkhazia, S.Ossetia Recognition". Civil Georgia. 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  8. ^ "Foreign Ministers of Georgia, Vanuatu Pledge to Deepen Ties". Civil Georgia. 2019-03-14. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  9. ^ Thomas Frear: The foreign policy options of a small unrecognised state: the case of Abkhazia, in: Caucasus Survey, Vol. 1 (2014), No. 2, pp. 83–107, DOI: 10.1080/23761199.2014.11417293.
  10. ^ Eric R. Eissler: Can Turkey De-Isolate Abkhazia?, in: Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 12 (2013), No. 3, pp. 125–135. Available here.
  11. ^ Burcu Gültekin Punsmann: Questioning the Embargo on Abkhazia: Turkey's Role in Integrating Into the Black Sea Region,, in: Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 8 (2009), No. 4, pp. 77–88. Available here.
  12. ^ "Wir wären gerne Mitglied der Eurasischen Union". junge Welt. 9 June 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  13. ^ Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization: Yearbook, Leiden/Boston 1997, p. 42.
  14. ^ a b "Bilateral Ties Between Georgia and Belarus Take a New Turn". Jamestown Foundation. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Lukashenko Meets Abkhaz Leader". Civil Georgia. 24 March 2009. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Belarusian MPs Visit Tbilisi, Sokhumi, Tskhinvali". Civil Georgia. 18 November 2009. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Georgia still paying Belarus for non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia". Belsat. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Relations between Abkhazia and Syria: Towards a Domino Effect with Belarus and North Korea?". Russian International Affairs Council. 23 June 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Eritrean Delegation Visited Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Crimea". TesfaNews. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  20. ^ Karen Veranyan (8 June 2011). "Israeli factor in Abkhazia". Center for Strategic Assessments and Forecasts. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Israeli Security Firm Executives in Abkhazia". Civil Georgia. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  22. ^ "To Abkhazia one more Delegation from Israel arrived". GHN. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Daur Kove took part in the international conference in Israel". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Abkhazia. 9 November 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  24. ^ "In breakaway Abkhazia, a loophole for North Korean workers amid beaches and Soviet relics". Washington Post. 13 October 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  25. ^ "The Belarusian Irony of Fate in Abkhazia". Modern Diplomacy. 30 January 2022. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  26. ^ "QUAD POLDIRS ON GEORGIA ABKHAZIA". Wikileaks. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  27. ^ Западная Сахара готовится признать Абхазию и Южную Осетию (in Russian). regnum.ru. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
  28. ^ "Talat voices respect for will of peoples of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia". Today's Zaman. 2008-08-28. Archived from the original on 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  29. ^ ХАМАС приветствует признание независимости Абхазии и Южной Осетии (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  30. ^ "Only Palestine's Hamas Backs Kremlin's Recognition of Abkhazia, South Ossetia". Georgian Daily. 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  31. ^ Coughlin, Con; Blomfield, Adrian (2008-08-27). "Georgia: Europe unites to condemn Kremlin". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
  32. ^ "Pridnestrovie MPs to monitor Abkhazia vote as election observers". Tiraspol Times. 2008-07-04. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  33. ^ "US embassy in Moscow refused visa to head of Abkhazia MFA". Caucasian Knot. 2006-10-14. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  34. ^ Kuchuberia, Anjela (2009-02-26). Посольство Индии в Москве отказало в визах сотрудницам МИД Абхазии. Caucasian Knot (in Russian). Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  35. ^ Kuchuberia, Angela (2009-04-04). "Abkhazian athletes rejected visas by Spanish embassy in Moscow". Caucasian Knot. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  36. ^ "German embassy in Russia denies ill Abkhazian teen visa - ministry". RIA Novosti. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  37. ^ "Germany issues visa to seriously ill Abkhazian teenager". RIA Novosti. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  38. ^ "Аԥсны Адәныҟатәи аусқәа рминистрра Боливариантәи алианс АЛБА Есымшатәи Амаӡаныҟәгарахь адныҳәаларатә нота нанашьҭит Алианс ашьақәыргылара амш инамаданы". Foreign Ministry of Abkhazia. 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2021-05-23.
  39. ^ "What Abkhazia's crypto dalliance teaches us about monetary sovereignty". Financial Times. 2020-01-20. Retrieved 2020-01-20.

External links[edit]