Abkhahzia to appeal to Russia for recognition

Politics Materials 20 August 2008 14:58 (UTC +04:00)

Georgia's rebel region of Abkhazia will lodge a formal appeal with Moscow on Wednesday to be recognized as an independent state, the parliamentary speaker for the autonomous region told news agency Interfax.

Abkhazia will hold a special parliamentary session on Wednesday to consider an independence appeal to Russia for recognition by the breakaway region's president Sergei Bagapsh, Abkhaz parliament speaker Nugzar Ashuba said, dpa reported.

"We will request to recognize the independence of our republic," Ashuba was quoted by the agency as saying.

The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, Sergei Mironov, meanwhile said Wednesday that Russian lawmakers were "ready" to recognize the regions independence from Georgia.

"The Council of Federation is ready to recognize an independent status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, if the peoples of the two republics want it and if there is a supporiting decision of the President of Russia," Mironov was quoted as saying in the southern Russia city of Vladikavkaz, where he visited refugees from the conflict in Georgia's other breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Both regions have been self-governed since winning a war of succession from Georgia in the early 1990s, and have since strengthened their ties with Russia.

Most residents in the two separatist provinces have been issued Russian passports in recent years, but while South Ossetians would like to unite with the ethnically-linked Russian region of North Ossetia, Abkhazia is lobbying to be recognized as an independent country.

Russian lawmakers gave voice to both independence movements in the wake of Kosovo's independence, claiming the cases could not be distinguished, and Russia's increasing support for the rebel regions in recent months was part of the flame that led to war with Georgia in South Ossetia last week.