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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia's upper house ratifies treaties with Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

RIA Novosti

12/11/2008 10:54 MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - The upper house of the Russian parliament ratified friendship treaties with South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Wednesday.

Russia recognized both Georgian separatist republics as independent states on August 26 after the end of a five-day conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi, which launched an attack on South Ossetia in early August.

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.

Senator Vasily Likhachev, deputy chairman of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, said the agreements were an aspect of the "implementation of President [Dmitry Medvedev's] proposal on a new European security treaty."

The treaties have to be signed by the president to enter into force.

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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