Leaders of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Sergey Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity, participated in a roundtable discussions on “Economic Development of Southern Russia” hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on September 29.
The list of participants, which was posted on the Russian President’s official web-site, included “Eduard Kokoity, the President of South Ossetia” and “Sergey Bagapsh, the President of Abkhazia.” These two names were listed under the section “foreign guests.”
“I would like to specially salute our foreign guests. These are: Sergey Vasilevich Bagapsh – the President of Abkhazia… Eduard Jabievich Kokoity – the President of the South Ossetian Republic,” President Putin said in his opening remarks at the conference.
The list of foreign guests also included the governors of Armenia’s two regions and officials from the Ukraine’s Crimean autonomy.
“I would like to say that we are happy with presence of our foreign guests, because this joint economic complex [referring to Soviet-time economic links between regions] envisaged very close interaction with the neighbors of southern Russia… As neighbors in this part of Europe we should jointly gain maximum benefit from our geographical location,” Putin said.