President lauds Georgia ties, warns on Russian Abkhazia deal

Latvian President Andris Bērziņš said Wednesday that a deal between the Russian Federation and the breakaway Georgian province of Abkhazia announced Monday would "negatively affect safety and stability in the region" according to comments attributed to him by the Reuters news agency.

Speaking during an official visit to the Caucasian republic and accompanied by a 70-strong business delegation, Bērziņš was keen to draw parallels between the experiences of the Latvia and Georgia, both locked into the Soviet Union against their wills for decades but now among the more progressive countries in the region.  

And while warning about the Abkhazia deal which gives Russia the right to "protect" the Abkhazina border was not a good thing, in other comments he also stressed the need to maintain dialogue with the Kremlin.

"Latvia in its reform process has come a long way - so I would like to confirm our readiness to share this experience with Georgia during its [European Union] Association Agreement implementation process," Bērziņš said during a press conference with his Georgian counterpart Georgy Margvelashvili. 

Georgia's accession process as it tries to join the EU could "escalate" during Latvia's presidency of the 28-member bloc in the first half of 2015, Bērziņš said.

Both Abkhazia and another Georgian region, South Ossetia, declared independence from Tbilisi in 2008 as Russia and Georgia fought a brief war.

The international community has largely ignored their claims to statehood and Georgia has declared that both regions remain sovereign Georgian territory.

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