Russia seals recognition of S. Ossetia, Abkhazia
Medvedev said Russia would support both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and other countries should now do the same.
Russia sealed its recognition of two breakaway Georgian regions on Friday when President Dmitry Medvedev greeted their first ambassadors to Moscow alongside new envoys from NATO members.
Russia recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states after fighting a five-day war with Georgia last August. NATO has called on Moscow to reverse the move and reaffirm the the territorial integrity of Georgia, which wants to join the Western military alliance.
At Friday's Kremlin event, the envoys from the separatist regions were treated by Russia as equals with the new ambassadors from 12 nations -- including NATO members Britain and Estonia -- that do not recognise them as countries.
Medvedev, accepting the diplomats' credentials, said Russia would support both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and other countries should now do the same.
"I am convinced that recognition by the international community will help ensure lasting peace and stability in the Caucasus," he said.
Nicaragua is so far the only country to follow Russia in recognising the breakaways.
Medvedev said Russia had ties dating back centuries to Abkhazia, and would continue to support South Ossetia against what he called Georgian aggression.
Russian forces entered South Ossetia after Tbilisi attacked separatists there in early August. Georgian troops were driven out of the region in a war that ended in an EU-brokered ceasefire.
"We will not abandon our neighbour in the difficult times of post-conflict conditions and we will together reconstruct the republic's social and economic infrastructure and strengthen its security," Medvedev said.
Reuters Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2009, 17:33