TBILISI -- The breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia has appointed Maksim Gvinjia as its de facto foreign minister, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.
Gvinjia replaces Prime Minister Sergei Shamba, who had also served as the self-declared republic's foreign minister. Gvinjia, 32, had previously served as deputy foreign minister.
Russian media reports that Gvinjia is currently on a trip to Central and South America where he is to establish embassies in Venezuela and Nicaragua and to lobby Argentina to recognize Abkhazia as an independent state, Russian media reported.
Venezuela and Nicaragua are two of the four countries that have recognized Abkhazia's independence from Georgia. Russia and the Pacific island country of Nauru are the others.
Gvinjia said his delegation had met with Argentinian political party representatives. He added that "The most crucial thing is that no one spoke against recognizing Abkhazia's independence."