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Vanuatu recognizes Abkhazia independence - Abkhaz ministry

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The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has become the fifth country to recognize Abkhazia's independence, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Maxim Gvindzhiya said on Tuesday.

The South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has become the fifth country to recognize Abkhazia's independence, Abkhaz Foreign Minister Maxim Gvindzhiya said on Tuesday.

"We exchanged notes on diplomatic relations and signed an agreement," Gvindzhiya said.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and another former Georgian republic, South Ossetia, in 2008. The move followed a five-day war with Georgia after it attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders.

Later, the two states' independence was recognized by Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.

Russia's decision has been condemned by many nations. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.

The Russian ambassador in Australia also fulfills ambassadorial duties in Fiji, Nauru and Vanuatu.

MOSCOW, May 31 (RIA Novosti)

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