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AP: Abkhazia appeals for world recognition

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  • Norbert Strade
    Friday, Mar. 07, 2008 Abkhazia appeals for world recognition By RUSLAN KHASHIG AP SUKHUMI, Georgia The Russian-backed region of Abkhazia appealed to the world
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 7, 2008
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      Friday, Mar. 07, 2008

      Abkhazia appeals for world recognition

      By RUSLAN KHASHIG
      AP

      SUKHUMI, Georgia The Russian-backed region of Abkhazia appealed to the
      world community Friday to recognize it as independent from Georgia,
      citing Kosovo as a precedent.

      In a unanimous resolution, Abkhazia's legislature called on the world
      community and the Russian Parliament to recognize it as an independent
      nation.

      "The republic of Abkhazia has for 15 years successfully existed as an
      independent nation," the resolution said, citing Kosovo's independence
      as justification for the timing.

      The appeal follows a nearly identical resolution earlier this week by
      another breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia.

      Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia have had de-facto independence since
      wars with Georgian forces in the 1990s. No country recognizes their
      governments, though Russia has tacitly supported their autonomy from
      Georgia, which has infuriated Moscow by increasingly aligned itself with
      the West.

      Temur Yakobashvili, Georgia's state minister for reintegration matters,
      said the Abkhazia resolution should not be taken seriously because many
      ethnic Georgians fled Abkhazia during the fighting and have long sought
      to return.

      "This parliament is not legitimate; it was not elected by the population
      of Abkhazia," he said. "It cannot reflect the will of the entire
      population."

      Russia further raised tensions with Georgia on Thursday by fully
      restoring economic ties with Abkhazia. Russian officials said the
      decision had nothing to do with Kosovo, although Moscow was infuriated
      by Western recognition of Kosovo's independence and warned that it could
      fuel other separatist movements, particularly in the former Soviet Union.

      Nations that recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia say that
      situation was unique. (*)

      Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili condemned Moscow's full
      restoration of trade with Abkhazia as a "grave provocation."

      "Russia and its government will bear full responsibility for
      militarization of Abkhazia," Saakashvili said in a televised statement
      Friday.

      Georgia also summoned Russia's ambassador in protest.

      In comments likely to further exacerbate the tensions between Russia and
      Georgia, Russia's regional development minister, Dmitry Kozak, said
      Russian businesses and investors building for the 2014 Winter Games in
      Sochi can look to Abkhazia for workers and materials.

      Abkhazia sits just a few miles from Sochi.

      Associated Press writers Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili in Tbilisi, Georgia,
      and Mansur Mirovalev in Moscow contributed to this report.
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      * I won't say that Kosova's independence is unique. It's just a very
      late act of decolonization. Btw., as several Chechen politicians and
      commentators already pointed out, Abkhazia is fundamentally different
      from Kosova in the fact that its secession from Georgia would only
      result in a pseudo-independent state (whatever they might call it). It
      is already now under Russian de-facto occupation and a large part of the
      population has been issued Russian passports, so the result of an
      international recognition of this situation would mean a recognition of
      Russia's reconquest of the territory. N.S.
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