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Steinmeier Says Germany Does Not Recognize Moscow-Abkhazia Deal

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) and Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili during their meeting in Tbilisi on December 8

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has reiterated that his country does not recognize last month's treaty between Russia and Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The treaty, signed on November 24, says that an armed attack on Abkhazia will be considered an armed attack on Russia, and vice-versa.

It calls for the creation of a joint Russian-Abkhaz military force within a year, and for Russian funding to modernize Abkhazia's military.

Steinmeier, speaking in Tbilisi on December 8, said: "We would like to confirm this once again and we do not recognize this agreement at all."

Moscow recognized Abkhazia and another Georgian breakaway territory, South Ossetia, as indepedent states in 2008.

That move came after Russia and Georgia fought a brief war over South Ossetia.

Russia has stationed some 4,000 troops in Abkhazia.

Steinmeier also said on December 8 that Georgia, which signed an association agreement with the European Union in June, is "one step closer" to obtaining visa-free travel in the EU for its citizens.

Based on reporting by Interfax and