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    Putin Submits Cooperation Agreement with Abkhazia for Ratification

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    Vladimir Putin has submitted a cooperation agreement with Abkhazia to the Russian parliament for ratification, with the document aleady ratified by the former Georgian republic.

    MOSCOW, December 23 (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted an agreement on cooperation and strategic partnership with the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia to the Russian parliament for ratification, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

    On November 24, Putin and Abkhazian leader Raul Khadzhimba signed the agreement between the two countries. The agreement foresees the forming of a common space for defense and security that includes creating a joint military group force that will fall under the subordination of both countries.

    The parliament of Abkhazia has already ratified the document.

    Russia recognized Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian province, South Ossetia, as independent states in August 2008 following a five-day war with Georgia. In response to that, Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Moscow and declared the two Caucasian republics occupied territories.

    Since the end of the armed conflict, the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been looking to maintain a dialogue between Georgia and its two former regions with the help of Russia and the United States, although the latter has accused Russia of trying to control Abkhazia.

    Addressing the concerns around Moscow's closer military ties with Sukhumi, the Russian Foreign Ministry assured Washington earlier this month that the strategic partnership treaty was aimed at propping Abkhazia's statehood and defense capability and did not contain any provisions that could threaten other countries, including Georgia.

    This and other issues may be tackled during the next round of international talks on the Transcaucasus region under the UN-EU-OSCE aegis in Geneva in March.


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