Medvedev signs ratification of treaties with Abkhazia, S Ossetia

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Moscow, Nov 24 (UNI) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed the ratification of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance treaties with Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Kremlin press service said today.

The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, ratified the treaties on October 29 and the Federation Council, the upper house, on November 12.

Russia recognised 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 recognises 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 recognised by Russia and Nicaragua.

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