Georgian government reacted angrily to the planned Abkhazia visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the visit on April 17, saying that the “working visit” to Sokhumi would be held on April 18 and 19 and that Sergey Lavrov would “attend the opening ceremony of the Russian Embassy’s new compound in Abkhazia” and hold talks with the region’s leadership.
The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Lavrov’s arrival with a statement on April 18, saying: “the “visit” of the Russian Foreign Minister to the occupied Abkhazia region in violation of the Georgian state border and opening of new building of the illegal diplomatic representation of the Russian Federation on the ground blatantly violates the principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state within its internationally recognized borders and other fundamental norms of international law.”
The Georgian MFA added that the visit served Moscow’s goal to legitimize “the forceful change of borders of the sovereign state through ethnic cleansing and military occupation.”
President Giorgi Margvelashvili issued a statement on April 18 as well, saying that Lavrov’s visit without Tbilisi’s approval violated both Georgian and international legal norms. According to the statement, such steps “go against the [ceasefire] agreement of August 12, 2008, as well as the fundamental principles of international law.”
President Margvelashvili expressed his worry that “the Georgian government’s policy of strategic patience and constructive steps taken toward stabilizing the situation are met with new steps against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia by the Russian Federation.”
Giorgi Margvelashvili called on the international community to “firmly condemn” the Russian policy of “privileged interests” and support Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Georgia once again expresses its readiness to discuss all issues diplomatically and calls on the Russian Federation to hold a constructive dialogue,” Margvelashvili added.