NATO rejects Russian recognition of Georgian breakaway regions

18:30, 26 August 2008
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Scheffer said in a statement Tuesday

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has rejected Russia`s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the breakaway regions of Georgia.

    "I reject the decision of the Russian government to extend recognition to the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia," de Hoop Scheffer said in a statement Tuesday.

    "This is in direct violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions regarding Georgia`s territorial integrity, resolutions that Russia itself has endorsed," he said.

    He reiterated NATO`s support for Georgia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity and asked Russia to respect these principles as well.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced Tuesday that his country had decided to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

    He signed decrees on Russia`s recognition of the two regions after his country`s parliament voted in favor of the move.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke from central Georgian rule during wars in the early 1990s following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, but their self-proclaimed independence is not recognized internationally.

    On Aug. 7, Georgia sent in troops to reclaim South Ossetia, to which Russia responded with a military offensive, driving Georgian forces out of the region and taking over parts of Georgian territory.

    Russia finally declared a halt to its military offensive on Aug. 12. Later, Moscow said it had fulfilled the promise made in a French-brokered peace plan to withdraw its troops from Georgia as of last Friday.

    "Russia`s actions in recent weeks call into question Russia`s commitment to peace and security in the Caucasus," commented de Hoop Scheffer.

    Georgia, a former Soviet republic, is eager to join the NATO. The alliance`s recent pledge to grant ultimate NATO membership to Georgia has angered Moscow.


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