Russia to consider recognizing Georgian breakaway regions

April 2nd, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, April 2 (RIA Novosti) Russia will study a proposal to recognize the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “It (the proposal by Russian parliament) will be studied closely and all the factors will be taken into account,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told parliament, noting that the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo from Serbia Feb 17 was among the factors that led Russia to consider the move.

On March 21, the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) proposed that the president and the government should consider whether to recognize the Georgian regions, which have been seeking independence since the early 1990s.

He also mentioned Russia’s “consistent adherence to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “the supremacy of international law,” as well as Russia’s commitments under the UN Charter as factors.

Shortly after Kosovo declared its independence, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova’s Transdnestr, asked Russia’s parliament, the UN and other organizations to recognize their independence.

Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia were involved in armed conflicts with Georgia after proclaiming independence following the split up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The situation in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict area is controlled by joint forces also including Russian peacekeepers.

However, Lavrov said Russia would keep its peacekeepers in the conflict zones. “Our peacekeeping contingent in the regions will be maintained and reinforced on the basis of our international commitments,” the minister said.

Abkhazia has accused Georgia of deliberately sparking tensions in conflict zones in order to speed up its admission to NATO.

The former Soviet republic’s bid for entry into NATO’s Membership Action Plan, a precursor for membership in the Western military alliance, is to be discussed at a NATO summit in Bucharest from April 2-4.

The minister also said that Russia was seeking to improve relations with Georgia and was ready to consider resuming Georgian wine imports, suspended two years ago.

Despite strained relations, Russia resumed air and sea links with Georgia last week. Moscow imposed a transportation and postal blockade on the Caucasus state in October 2006 in apparent retaliation for the detention on espionage charges of four Russian army officers.
RIA Novosti

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