Kremlin-backed Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania arrived on May 16 in Damascus, where he met today Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, one of the only five countries that recognize the Russian-occupied region’s independence.
Ahead of his first meeting with the Syrian President, Bzhania expressed confidence that the relationship between Sokhumi and Damascus “will strengthen and develop successfully.”
President Bashar al-Assad remarked in a press briefing after the meeting, that the visit will open up “new opportunities” for cooperation in tourism, economy, and agriculture. He also highlighted the role of Abkhaz diaspora living in Syria in helping “strengthen intercultural ties,” as reported by Bzhania’s press service.
In Damascus, Bzhania is accompanied by his administration head Alkhas Kvitsinia, “ministers” for foreign affairs, agriculture, economy, and tourism, Daur Kove, Beslan Jopua, and Kristina Ozgan, and Teimuraz Khishba, respectively, as well as also “parliament speaker” Valery Kvarchia and several lawmakers.
Syria recognized the independence of Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia in May 2018, joining Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Venezuela. Sokhumi opened its “embassy” in Damascus in October 2020, a move decried by the Georgian Foreign Ministry as a “severe violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law.”