20 Feb 2012

West accused of blackmailing Pacific countries over Abkhazia recognition

11:16 am on 20 February 2012

An ambassador of Abkhazia says Nauru, Vanuatu and Tuvalu face economic sanctions by the West for recognising Abkhazia as an independent country.

Juris Gulbis has told the Voice of Russia that the United States and Britain intentionally disrupt the recognition of Abkhazia's independence.

He says countries beginning to establish ties with the breakaway Georgian republic are simply told not to do so.

Those who don't obey, Mr Gulbis says, face tough economic sanctions, adding that as a result the West has stopped the financing of vitally important projects in some countries.

The Russian-backed area declared independence from Georgia in 1999 and is recognised by Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as the three Pacific countries.

Last week, Georgia cut diplomatic ties with Tuvalu - a year after setting them up.