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Russia links Kosovo with Georgia

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7246505.stm Friday, 15 February 2008, 11:39 GMT Russia links Kosovo with Georgia Russia has indicated it may change its
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 15, 2008
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      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7246505.stm

      Friday, 15 February 2008, 11:39 GMT
      Russia links Kosovo with Georgia

      Russia has indicated it may change its policy towards
      breakaway regions in Georgia if the West recognises
      the independence of Kosovo.

      Moscow has repeatedly hinted it could recognise South
      Ossetia and Abkhazia if Kosovo separates from Serbia.

      The foreign ministry said Moscow would "take into
      account" developments in Kosovo, but did not say how.

      Kosovo may declare independence this weekend, and the
      US and most EU states are expected to recognise it
      quickly.

      Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is expected to
      say later on Friday that the declaration of
      independence will be made on 17 February, the AFP
      reports quoting a source in Mr Thaci's office.

      Serbia earlier urged the UN Security Council to oppose
      Kosovo's expected move.

      Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Belgrade
      would not use force to stop the secession of the
      southern province but warned that allowing it would
      give a green light to other separatist movements.

      De facto independent

      "We will, without doubt, have to take into account a
      declaration and recognition of Kosovo independence in
      connection with the situation in Abkhazia and South
      Ossetia," Russia's foreign ministry said in a
      statement.

      The statement came after Russian Foreign Minister
      Sergei Lavrov met the leaders of South Ossetia and
      Abkhazia in Moscow.

      Most people in Georgia's two breakaway republics,
      which have enjoyed de facto independence since the
      early 1990s, already have Russian citizenship.

      Tbilisi accuses Moscow of supporting both regions, in
      order to undermine its own attempts to build a strong
      and independent nation state.

      Russia denies the accusations.
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