Russia parliament to call for Ossetia independence

A049142710.jpgMOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s parliament will call on Monday for President Dmitry Medvedev to recognize Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.

“The Federation Council … of the Russian Federation … taking into account multiple appeals by South Ossetia and Abkhazia on recognizing their independence, including those received on August 22 and 24, 2008, proposes to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” read the text of the resolution.

The Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, started a debate on the text at 0600 GMT. The lower house, or State Duma, was to consider a similar text later in the morning.

A source in the United Russia party, which has a majority in parliament, said deputies would pass the resolution.

The Russian president is not bound to take parliament’s advice on the two regions, which broke away from Georgia in the 1990s and declared independence. No country has so far recognized them.

Fighting erupted in South Ossetia after Georgia on August 7-8 tried to recapture the rebel region, sparking an international crisis as Russia mounted the biggest military deployment outside its borders since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Moscow and Washington have clashed sharply over the conflict. The United States has backed its ally Georgia and accused Russia of bullying Tbilisi after Moscow’s troops occupied several towns in Georgia outside the rebel areas.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia and must remain so. Moscow-backed separatists in both regions reject this.

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