4 Jun 2011

Vanuatu official denies Abkhazia recognition

9:12 am on 4 June 2011

A top Vanuatu official has denied that the country has recognised the independence of the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Vanuatu's ambassador to the United Nations, Donald Kalpokas, says there was no recognition of Abkhazia's independence by his government.

This contradicts a statement made by Abkhaz Foreign Minister Maksim Gvindzhia earlier in the week that Vanuatu had recognised the territory's sovereignty.

Russia has lobbied its allies to follow its lead in recognising Abkhazia and another Georgian breakaway region, South Ossetia, since waging a war with its former Soviet neighbour over the provinces in August 2008.

So far Venezuela, Nicaragua and the tiny Pacific State of Nauru have established diplomatic ties with Abkhazia.