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Tiny Tuvalu's Officials In Abkhazia For Visa-Free Deal, Monitoring

Tuvalu Foreign Minister Willie Telavi (right) during a meeting in New York with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in September.
Officials of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia and the tiny Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu have signed an agreement on visa-free travel between between the two territories.

The deal was signed in Sukhumi as separatist Abkhaz Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya met with his visiting Tuvalu counterpart, Willy Telavi.

Telavi is leading Tuvalu's delegation to monitor the parliamentary elections that are being staged by the Abkhaz separatists on March 10, elections that are not recognized by Tbilisi or all but a tiny handful of states to have recognized Abkhaz independence.

Tuvalu, located in the Pacific Ocean, with a population of just over 10,000 and a total land area of about 26 kilometers, is among them.

Russia recognized Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence in 2008, following a five-day war with Georgia.

Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Vanuatu, and Tuvalu all subsequently recognized Abkhazia's independence later.

With Interfax and ITAR-TASS reporting