Georgia voices concern over Russian FM's Abkhazia visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks with his Senegalese counterpart during a meeting in Moscow

Commenting Sergey Lavrov's April 19 statement on the possible resumption of transit connection between Russian Federation and Armenia running through Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, the Foreign Minister stated: "we are talking about the territory of Georgia; therefore, any decision that will be made, will be made in accordance with the Georgian legislation and Georgian Government's decisions".

According to President Raul Khajimba, the route's opening will also positively impact the country's economy.

Speaking about the Geneva International Discussions, the only multilateral mediation forum involving representatives from Tbilisi and Moscow, as well as Tskhinvali and Sokhumi in their individual capacities, Lavrov noted that Moscow "expects a legally binding instrument on the non-use of force to be signed in the foreseeable future".

Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze told RFE/RL on April 20 that his Russian counterpart's trip visit to Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region this week was an attempt to shore up the "illusion" of legitimacy.

According to Lavrov, "Russia has no problems with resuming transit". "It [the legal basis] can rely on the agreements reached between the Russian Federation and the World Trade Organization in 2011, when we joined it", Lavrov said.

"We know that our Armenian colleagues are interested in restoring the transit".

"This represents a continuation of Moscow's provocative policy against the state of Georgia, which aims to legitimise the violent change of borders of the sovereign state though ethnic cleansing and military occupation", the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

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