US urges Russia to drop support for Abkhazia, South Ossetia

April 19th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by admin  

RIA Novosti
Washington, April 19 (RIA Novosti) US has urged Russia to abandon its plans to strengthen ties with Georgia’s breakaway regions, the State Department has said. Georgia reacted furiously to Russia’s announcement Wednesday that it plans to strengthen relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which border on Russia and broke away from Georgia in wars after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Tbilisi accused Moscow of trying to annex the two provinces.

US Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack Friday said Russia must keep to its pledge to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and must scrap its plans for the Georgian breakaway regions.

Russia plans to give legal status to companies in the two provinces and cooperate with their governments.

Russia’s foreign ministry Wednesday said outgoing President Vladimir Putin had instructed that measures be drawn up to provide support for the population in the breakaway regions.

Earlier Friday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to voice concern on the issue.

“We are very concerned at the steps that have been taken and we have made our views known to the Russian government,” Rice told reporters after their conversation.

The breakaway regions have stepped up their efforts for independence since Kosovo’s declaration of sovereignty in February.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova’s Transdnestr, have since asked Russia’s parliament, the UN and other organisations to recognise their independence.
RIA Novosti

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