EU ‘concerned’ over Russian FM visit to Abkhazia, South Ossetia

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has condemned the Russian foreign minister’s visit to the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Sergei Lavrov was visiting the regions earlier this week without the permission of the Georgian authorities.

“The European Union notes with concern that Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian

Federation, Sergei Lavrov, has paid a visit to the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on 25 and 26 April 2011, without prior consent of the Georgian authorities,” Ashton said in a statement published on the EU Council’s website on Wednesday.

“The EU does not consider these visits compatible with the principle of territorial integrity,” she said. “The EU reiterates its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underlines the importance of a peaceful conflict resolution in full respect of the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.”

Russia has recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. There have been no diplomatic relations between Georgia and Russia since Russian forces repelled a Georgian attempt to retake control of the two republics.

MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti)

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