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    Russia's Medvedev visits Abkhazia, pledges cooperation in all spheres

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived on Sunday in Abkhazia on the first ever visit by the head of the Russian state since Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian republic two years ago.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived on Sunday in Abkhazia on the first ever visit by the head of the Russian state since Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian republic two years ago.

    At his meeting with Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh, Medvedev said that Russia would develop comprehensive relations with Abkhazia.

    "We'll be developing good relations with Abkhazia, we'll be developing economic relations and relations in the sphere of security," Medvedev said during his brief visit to the former Georgian republic.

    Long-standing tensions between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia turned violent during a five-day war in August 2008.

    The war started in the early hours of August 8 when Georgia launched a military offensive against South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders. Russia reacted swiftly, expelling Georgian troops from South Ossetia and forcing them deep into Georgia amid accusations on both sides of human right abuses.

    Two weeks after the end of the war, Russia recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which both split from Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The move was heavily criticized by Western powers. So far, only Venezuela, Nicaragua and the tiny island nation of Nauru have followed suit.

    "Exactly two years ago, well-known grave events occurred in South Ossetia, which triggered a whole number of political processes, including the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as the independent subjects of international law," the Russian president said.

    Medvedev said Russia would develop the whole range of relations with Abkhazia and there was no alternative to that.

    "Now it is important to continue developing relations in the economic and social spheres," Medvedev said, adding that Abkhazia had all the chances to turn into a flourishing country.

     

    SUKHUMI, August 8 (RIA Novosti)

     

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