Russian president ratifies treaties with Abkhazia, South Ossetia
24/11/2008 16:22 MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed off on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance treaties with Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Kremlin press service said on Monday.
The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, ratified the treaties on October 29 and the upper house, the Federation Council, on November 12.
Russia recognized both Georgian separatist republics as independent states on August 26, two weeks after the end of a five-day military conflict which began when Georgian forces launched an attack on South Ossetia.
Most residents of both republics, which broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s amid bloody conflicts, have had Russian citizenship for a number of years.
Under the pact, Russia has pledged to help the republics protect their borders, and the signatories have granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.
The treaty recognizes dual citizenship, as the majority of people living in South Ossetia and Abkhazia are also Russian passport holders. Russia has also agreed to unify its transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure with the republics.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have so far only been recognized by Russia and Nicaragua. Belarus has said it may recognize the breakaway regions in the future, and Venezuela has voiced support for Russia's move.
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