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21 Mar, 2008 13:12

Duma: Time to recognise breakaway republics

The Russian State Duma has preliminarily approved a draft statement recommending that Russia recognises Georgia's breakaway regions and Moldova's breakaway Transdniester province as independent states.

Having studied appeals by Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the State Duma deputies have proposed that the president and government of the Russian Federation consider recognising their independence.

The draft resolution also contains other suggestions for the government, including the possibility of strengthening the potential of the peacekeeping forces in the zones of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts.

Earlier the Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov told journalists that Russia is deeply concerned by the prospect of Georgia joining NATO and the possibility of military conflicts in the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“This statement is meant to once again remind Mr Saakashvili and his supporters from overseas that it's because of his actions that the territorial integrity of Georgia is in doubt and even threatened. I would go even further to say that by their actions the Georgian authorities have basically started a civil war in the country. During the parliamentary hearings that included representatives from the breakaway republics, they have repeated statements that neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia will become a part of NATO,” said Aleksey Ostrovsky, head of the State Duma Committee.

At the beginning of March Russia lifted the economic sanctions on Abkhazia imposed by the CIS states during the 90s, thereby angering Georgia and the U.S.

Last week leaders of the breakaway regions came to Moscow to discuss their situations with Russian MPs.

Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester proclaimed independence in the early 90s when the Soviet Union collapsed. None of the breakaway republics received recognition, but they're once again appealing to the international community, encouraged by the example of Kosovo.

All three regions have seen military conflicts in which thousands of people were killed.