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Ossetians ask Russian lawmakers to recognize South Ossetia

RIA Novosti

06/03/2008 17:26 VLADIKAVKAZ, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - Parliaments in North and South Ossetia adopted at a joint session on Thursday an appeal to Russia's parliament to recognize South Ossetia's independence.

The breakaway republic of South Ossetia, a tiny territory with a population of less than 100,000, has been seeking international recognition of its de facto independence from Georgia. However, Tbilisi considers the breakaway republic its constituent member and is only prepared to grant it broad autonomy.

North Ossetia is a part of Russia.

"We are asking you to consider the recognition by Russia of South Ossetia's independence," the letter reads.

In their letter, parliamentarians refer to Kosovo, which declared independence on February 17 as a factor in their bid for recognition of South Ossetia. So far over 25 states, including the United States, Australia, Japan and major European countries, have formally recognized the Republic of Kosovo.

"The principle of territorial integrity does not contradict South Ossetia's right to self-determination in the absence of legal and practical grounds for asserting Georgia's authority in the republic," the appeal reads.

The parliament of South Ossetia has also sent an appeal for recognition to the UN, the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Russia.

Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is to discuss the issue of the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on March 13.

Moscow has repeatedly said the recognition of Kosovo will set a precedent for other breakaway regions, including in the former Soviet Union.

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