Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recognized the Russian occupied Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia today as “independent states” during a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.
"Venezuela joins in recognizing the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states," Chavez said. "We will recognize these two republics starting today."
Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh expressed his thanks to Chavez for recognizing the two republics.
"I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the people of Abkhazia to the leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, for recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he said Thursday, Interfax reported. "We intend to develop close economic and political ties with Venezuela."
Medvedev praised Chavez's move. "Thank you, Hugo. Russia has always supported a country's sovereign right to recognize or not recognize a state's independence."But of course we are not indifferent to the fate of these two states. We're very grateful."
Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov downplayed Chavez’s announcement and stated: "Russia has been trying for a year to provide these puppet regimes with legitimacy," Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Nalbandov told Reuters. "These attempts have been in vain."
"It should be clear to the Russian side that such actions won't add legitimacy to these puppet regimes."
The Russian daily Kommersant daily reported Thursday that Russia would seek to find more supporters for its stance on Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Latin America.
"After the recognition by Nicaragua, the most promising region from this perspective is Latin America," a Russian foreign ministry source told Kommersant.