Russian Parliament ratifies friendship treaties with S Ossetia

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Moscow, Oct 29 (UNI) State Duma, the lower house of Russian Parliament, today ratified the friendship treaties with the Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The friendship treaties confirm both sides' intentions to strengthen friendship and reinforce political, economic and military cooperation.

Russia recognised 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.

Russia established diplomatic ties with both states on September 9 and signed friendship treaties with them on September 17. Both the South Ossetian and Abkhazian Parliaments have already ratified the treaties.

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 treaties recognise 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.

The chairman of the Duma's international affairs committee Konstantin Kosachyov said the treaties ''are in full compliance with Russia's national interests.'' Mr Kosachyov also stressed the treaties would safeguard the republics against a possible recurrence of Georgian aggression.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said the treaties create a sound foundation for future bilateral cooperation and partnership.

The treaties would now go to the Federation Council, the upper house of Parliament, before being signed by President Dmitry Medvedev and entering into force. South Ossetia and Abkhazia have so far only been recognised by Russia and Nicaragua.

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