Abkhazia seeks to join CIS, Russia-Belarus Union State

September 11th, 2008 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Sochi (Russia), Sep 11 (RIA Novosti) Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia is seeking to join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Russia-Belarus Union State, Abkhazia’s President Sergei Bagapsh said Thursday. The CIS is an alliance of erstwhile Soviet states, and currently it has 12 members, including Russia and Belarus that recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia Aug 26 following the military conflict between Russia and Georgia.

“I think that after signing the cooperation agreement we will apply to join the Union State. If the CIS expands, we are also ready to participate as well as in the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” Bagapsh told in a meeting in Valdai.

The Russia-Belarus Union State, which came into being in 1996, is an entity providing greater political, economic and social integration.

Bagapsh said Abkhazia would sign what he called “fundamental” treaties with Russia and South Ossetia on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance in the next few days.

He dismissed reports that Abkhazia was seeking associate territory status with Russia.

“The issue is out of question. Russia has no claims, nor does it want to cede anything,” he said, adding that the people of Abkhazia had chosen independence by referendum.

The Abkhaz leader said, however, his republic would continue to develop friendly ties with Russia, which he described as Abkhazia’s “reliable partner, who helped us during difficult times”.

Bagapsh said that Abkhazia wanted to establish a peaceful, democratic and legal-based state.

“We do not want war against anyone,” he said. “We do not need a single square meter of Georgian territory, but we will not cede our land either.”

Bagapsh announced his republic would sign an agreement with Russia on the deployment of Russian military bases in Abkhazia to prevent further conflict and strengthen its defences.

He said the agreement would prevent “genocide and a repetition of events in South Ossetia”.

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