Russia closes borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan to foreigners

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Moscow, Aug 19 (UNI) Russia has temporarily closed its borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan to all foreigners with the exception of Commonwealth of Independent States' (CIS) nationals.

Under an August 12 government resolution, nationals from what Russia calls ''the far abroad'' would be ''temporarily'' banned from crossing its border with the two former Soviet republics as part of ''measures to prevent members of foreign terror organisations from crossing into the country and to thwart the smuggling of arms,'' the government-controlled daily newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said today.

The CIS is a loose alliance of all the former Soviet republics with the exception of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Turkmenistan is an associate member.

In the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced on August 12 that Tbilisi would withdraw from the ''Russian-dominated'' organisation amid a conflict with Moscow over breakaway South Ossetia. The Georgian Parliament approved the decision.

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