Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed laws on ratifying customs cooperation agreements with the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Kremlin press office reported on Sunday.
The laws were adopted by the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, on November 2, and approved by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, on November 9, 2011.
The agreements aim to intensify cooperation between Russia and the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in customs control and the fight against smuggling, the facilitation of passenger and freight carriages and customs payments in full, and ensure compliance with bans and restrictions on the movement of goods across the border in accordance with the legislations of these countries.
The ratification of the accords comes just two weeks after Russia and Georgia finally signed a Swiss-brokered agreement clearing the way for Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organization, including deployment of international observers to monitor the movement of goods across sections of Russia’s borders with the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Abkhazia along with another former Georgian republic, South Ossetia, broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s. Georgian forces attempted to bring South Ossetia back under central control in August 2008, but were repelled by the Russian military. Russia subsequently recognized both republics as independent.
Since then, Russia has deployed thousands of troops and border guards to the tiny republics, which Georgia considers part of its sovereign territory.
Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny island nations of Nauru and Vanuatu are the only other countries to have recognized the republics.