The Republic of Nauru, a small 21 square kilometre pacific island nation comprising of approximately 11,000 people has thrown its support behind the independence of the autonomous republic of Abkhazia, officially recognizing the regions independence from Georgia on Tuesday December 15th, 2009.
This follows reports by Russian newspapers on December 14th, 2009 that Nauru was seeking $50 million in Russian financial aid for projects on the small, one island country which had once relied heavily on the export of the islands increasingly depleted phosphate reserves mined from fossilized bird droppings.
“We have now established relations with the worlds largest nation [Russia] and the worlds smallest nation [The Nauru Republic]” claimed the Foreign Affairs Minister of Abkhazia Sergei Shamba who has in the past sought the formal recognition of other states in the neighbouring Middle East and Latin America but has been “hampered by mighty forces”, chiefly the United States and European Union.
However Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian Minister for Reintegration (a cabinet post created to deal with the issues involving Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two break-away regions of Georgia) has said that Russia has merely ‘bought’ the recognition of Abkhazia by foreign states.
This comes as Sergei Bagapsh, who was re-elected president of Abkhazia on December 12th, 2009 in an election which Georgia had labeled an “immoral comedy” announces his plans to visit Turkey soon claiming the need for Abkhazia to reach out to members of the Abkhaz diaspora, many of whom reside within the Turkish Republic. Bagapsh is also seeking legislative reforms which would permit Abkhazians living outside of Abkhazia to vote in general elections.
Bagapsh has claimed that the normalization of relations between Abkhazia and Georgia is unlikely saying ” we can only negotiate with a Georgian president who accepts the independence of Abkhazia”.
The Road to Abkhaz Independence.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia both broke away from Georgian sovereignty in the early 1990’s via civil wars which followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Georgia.
In August 2008 Georgia launched a military assault on the South Ossetia region following increasing tensions with the Georgian government which triggered a five day Russian invasion into Georgia which devastated the country leaving 228 Georgian civilians dead or missing.
Russian forces now control the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia who are both highly dependent on the Russian Federation for economic support and security. The Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution on August 28th, 2008 declaring the two regions “Russian-occupied territories”.
Nauru, a member of the United Nations since 1999 joins Russia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela as the only four countries to officially recognize the independence of Abkhazia from Georgia, however it has yet to join these three states in the recognition of South Ossetian independence as well. Nauru is also one of the 63 countries to officially recognize the February 2008 independence of Kosovo from Serbia despite objections from Moscow.