Russian Parliament to set Ossetia free

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{image-russian parliament_25082008.jpg}Moscow, Aug 25: The State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, is expected to approve a request to recognise the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia at a special session on Monday, Aug 25. South Ossetia and Abkhazia had sent official appeals on Thursday, Aug 21 to Russia's President and Parliament to recognise their independence.

Konstantin Zatulin, who heads the Duma committee for CIS Affairs, said the proposal 'will certainly be approved.' The presidium of the ruling pro-Kremon United Russia party is also in favour of independence for the two separatist republics, Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, said.

He said the Duma would also adopt an address to UN member countries and international organisations over Georgia's August 8 attack on South Ossetia in which thousands were forced to flee and a large number of civilians were killed.

Deputies are expected to consider establishing a joint commission on human rights violations in South Ossetia.

Senator Vladimir Kulakov said members of the commission would insist on setting up an international tribunal for crimes committed against civilians of the unrecognised republic.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said he was confident that the State Duma would back the sovereignty requests by Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

South Ossetia's President Eduard Kokoity arrived in Moscow on Saturday to deliver his republic's appeal, approved by parliament on Friday.

Kokoity and his Abkhazian counterpart Sergei Bagapsh are expected to attend the extraordinary meeting of the Federation Council (upper house) later today.


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