Russia and the tiny Pacific Island of Tuvalu have agreed to establish diplomatic relations, following a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Tuvalu Prime Minister Willy Telavi, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
“It was decided to carry out respective procedures in the near future,” the ministry said in a statement.
Lavrov and Telavi met on the sidelines of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss bilateral cooperation, including trade, fishing and education.
Russia’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Tuvalu comes after the tiny Pacific nation has become the sixth country after Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Vanuatu to recognize the independence of the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in 2008. The move followed a five-day war with Georgia after it attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders. Russia’s decision has been condemned by many nations. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.
Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation, is located midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its population of 10,500 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, after the Vatican City and Nauru.