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S.Ossetia to raise independence issue in Russia's parliament

RIA Novosti

12/03/2008 18:21 MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Officials from South Ossetia will address Russia's parliament on the issue of the breakaway republic's independence on Thursday, the region's envoy to Russia said on Wednesday.

Parliament's lower house, the State Duma, will hold hearings on Thursday on appeals from Georgia's two breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as Moldova's Transdnestr, to recognize their independence. Parliamentary speakers from Georgia and Moldova will also attend.

"Relying on historical facts, we will make clear South Ossetia's position, which is our basis for seeking independence. We expect that this will be the beginning of further global processes, including the recognition of South Ossetia's independence, and we will raise the issue tomorrow," Dmitry Medoyev said.

The parliaments of the Russian republic of North Ossetia adopted at a joint session with South Ossetia on Thursday an appeal to Russia's parliament to recognize South Ossetia's independence.

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 since the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, Tbilisi considers the breakaway province to be part of its territory, and is only prepared to grant it broad autonomy.

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

Moscow has repeatedly said the recognition of Kosovo, which declared its unilateral independence on February 17, would set a precedent for other breakaway regions, including in the former Soviet Union.

So far over 25 countries including the United States, Australia, Japan and most EU members have formally recognized the Republic of Kosovo.

Abkhazia appealed on Friday to the United Nations and Russia to recognize its independence.

Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia were involved in bloody conflicts with Georgia after proclaiming independence following the split up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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