26 Jan 2012

Georgia critical of Russia's Pacific moves over Abkhazia

4:03 pm on 26 January 2012

The Georgian foreign minister, Grigol Vashadze, says Russia's lobbying in the Pacific for international recognition of the break-away regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is costing Russian taxpayers a lot of money.

Mr Vashadze has told a meeting in Strasbourg that to win Nauru's support Russia paid 50 million US dollars.

He made the comment just days ahead of a visit by the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, to the South Pacific, which will include a stop-over in Fiji.

This also follows accusations by Georgia that Russia was trying to kill talks to resolve their dispute over the two territories.

Mr Vashadze says international law is on Georgia's side adding that Georgia will not engage in chequebook diplomacy.

A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Canberra has told the Sydney Morning Herald that there would be no lobbying of Fiji over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The spokesperson also said Fiji would not be on the agenda when Mr Lavrov meets his Australian counterpart.

Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are among five countries recognising the break-away regions as countries.