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Abkhazia parliament favours Russian recognition

Latest update : 2008-08-20

The parliament of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia voted in favour of asking Russia to recognise its independence. Russia has previously drawn comparisons between Georgia's rebel provinces and recently independent Kosovo.


MOSCOW - Russian lawmakers will hold an extraordinary session next week to urge the Kremlin to recognise the independence of Georgia’s pro-Moscow breakaway regions, sources and media said on Wednesday.

Any resolutions issued by Russia’s two houses of parliament, both due to convene on Aug. 25 to discuss the future of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, are not legally binding for the Kremlin.

But upper house speaker Sergei Mironov, who is spearheading the move, has in the past publicly tested proposals on behalf of the Kremlin to gauge public approval.

A close ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Mironov told Ekho Moskvy radio the upper house would consider their recognition “if it is the will of the people of these republics and the decision of the President of Russia.”

A source in the State Duma lower house told Reuters that chamber would also meet next Monday to debate the matter.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia, recognised internationally as part of Georgia, have stepped up their push for independence since Russian troops drove out Georgian forces that had briefly took control of pockets of South Ossetia.

While enjoying Moscow’s financial and military support, they have yet to obtain explicit guarantees from the Kremlin it would recognise their independence.

Stepping up the pressure, Abkhazia’s self-styled parliament was set to vote on Wednesday on a fresh plea for Russian recognition of its independence, Interfax news agency reported.

”We plan to hold an extraordinary parliamentary session today to consider an appeal to the Russian president and the chambers of the Federal Assembly to recognise independence of our republic,” parliament speaker Nugzar Ashuba told Interfax.

The Black Sea region avoided the heavy fighting seen in South Ossetia but as the conflict unfolded its rebels took control of the strategically vital Kodori gorge—the only part of its territory that Georgian forces had controlled.

Nearly half of Russians want South Ossetia to become part of Russia, according to an Aug. 12 poll by the independent Levada centre.

Date created : 2008-08-20