Caucasus: Moscow Wants Ecuador to Recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Russian media outlets are reporting that Moscow will try to convince Ecuador to follow the examples of Venezuela and Nicaragua in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is due in Moscow on October 28.
The Russian newspaper Vedomosti said that Moscow wants recognition of its South Caucasus protectorates in exchange for military aid and energy assistance. A Russian Defense Ministry publication wrote earlier that Russia plans to sell two fighter helicopters and possibly several missiles to Ecuador.
Abkhaz officials have expressed hope that all members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), a left-wing Latin American cooperation organization, will eventually recognize the two separatist regions. Aside from Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua, ALBA members include Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Natalya Timakova, a spokeswoman for Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, denied that the Kremlin intends to pressure Ecuador or any other country into recognizing the two breakaway regions, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported on October 27.