The small island state of Vanuatu in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean has recognized independence of Abkhazia, the latter’s foreign ministry said.
The foreign ministry of breakaway region released a joint statement, dated with May 27, “on the establishment of diplomatic relations between Republic of Abkhazia and Republic of Vanuatu”.
“The establishment of diplomatic relations between two countries is governed by the realities of the modern geopolitical world where mutually beneficial cooperation will be built through development of economic cultural and other relations between the peoples of Vanuatu and Abkhazia,” the statement reads.
Vanuatu with total land area of 12,190 square km has the population of less than 250,000. Its economy is mainly based on small-scale agriculture; fishing; offshore financial services and tourism.
Before the most recent announcement Abkhazia, along with Georgia’s second breakaway region of South Ossetia, was recognized by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and by the smallest island nation of Nauru.
The statement was first made about the recognition by Vanuatu by the breakaway region’s foreign minister Maxim Gvinjia in an interview with the Russia's English-language TV Russia Today on May 31, which was immediately picked up by the Russian news wires.
The news was also reported by The New York Times on its website on May 31 and next day in its print version saying that “the government of Vanuatu, which is in an economic slump, said in a statement that recognition was intended to ‘foster the development of friendly relations’ and explore joint economic projects.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has not yet reacted to the reported recognition of Abkhazia by Vanuatu.
Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary speaker, said on June 1, that “whether the report is confirmed or not, it will not change anything.” He said that all the leading world nations were committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity.