Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia calls for recognition

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia made a new appeal to Russia and Western countries on Friday to recognize its independence, three weeks after Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, Russian news agencies reported.

The Abkhaz parliament in the capital Sukhumi urged the international community to acknowledge its independence, an appeal aimed at the United Nations, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Russia.

The pro-Russian region on Georgia’s Black Sea coast has enjoyed de facto independence from Tbilisi since 1993 after a war following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

It has called repeatedly for formal recognition, and has followed up Kosovo’s declaration of independence with a renewed diplomatic campaign over the past three weeks.

On Friday, its parliament said Abkhazia wanted links with the international community and issued a second appeal to the Russian parliament for help with its bid for recognition, Interfax news agency reported.

Russia dropped formal restrictions on trade with Abkhazia on Thursday, a move that some analysts said was linked to Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.

Moscow has formally banned trade with the small territory since 1996, though Tbilisi says Russia has for years been propping up the separatists with financial aid.

Russian diplomats have said the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by many countries set a precedent that could push many other disaffected regions to seek independence.

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