Georgia has reacted angrily to the Venezuelan President’s recognition of the pro-Russian rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Hugo Chavez made the statement during talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, saying that diplomatic relations with the territories will be established. Until today Nicaragua was the only country apart from Russia to recognise the two regions as independent. Russia went to war with Georgia last year when Tbilisi tried to retake control of South Ossetia, which has been running its own affairs since the early 1990s. Georgia’s Minister for Reintegration, Temur Lakobashvili, said Chavez’s statement once more illustrates that Georgia is right and the situation is abnormal. “South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not independent states,” he maintained. He added that everyone knows what kind of a politician Chavez is and his statement draws a line between normal and rogue states. Russia has also announced that it has agreed to supply tanks and other weapons to Venezuela. Chavez is quoted as saying he wants to beef up his weaponry to resist what he calls US imperialism in Latin America. Moscow has also announced it is close to a cooperation deal between Venezuela’s state oil company and a consortium of Russian companies.