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State Duma urges buildup of peacekeepers in Georgia

RIA Novosti

20/03/2008 13:48 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - The State Duma has proposed that the government consider increasing the number of Russian peacekeepers deployed in Georgia's conflict areas, the parliament's lower house said in a draft statement Thursday.

The Duma is proposing "considering the possibility of reinforcing the potential for peacekeeping forces in the conflict areas of Georgia-Abkhazia and Georgia- [South] Ossetia, as well as other measures to ensure peace and stability in the region."

The draft statement is entitled: "Russia's policy regarding Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnestr." The house intends to adopt it on Friday.

Soon after Kosovo's declaration, two breakaway Georgian territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova's Transdnestr, asked Russia's parliament, the United Nations and other organizations to recognize their independence.

Over 30 states, including the U.S. and 18 European Union members, have recognized Kosovo's independence. Serbia's neighbors Croatia and Hungary were the latest to recognize the province on Wednesday, and another neighbor Bulgaria is set to follow suit Thursday.

Russia, China, Spain, Cyprus and several other countries have refused to recognize Kosovo 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.

Peacekeeping in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone is carried out by collective CIS forces staffed with Russian service personnel. The situation in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict area is controlled by joint forces also including Russian peacekeepers.

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