Russian parliament to warn Georgia on NATO entry

Russia's parliament will vote on Friday on a resolution calling for the Kremlin to consider recognising Georgia's breakaway regions if the pro-Western former Soviet state joins NATO.

Russian parliament to warn Georgia on NATO entry
The resolution, a draft of which was obtained by Reuters on Thursday, is not binding but is likely to stoke Western fears that Russia is inching towards recognising the Moscow-backed Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.

Russia is firmly opposed to Georgia joining NATO and some analysts and diplomats say Moscow is using the threat of recognition to deter the alliance from setting Tbilisi on the path to membership at its summit in Bucharest on April 2-4.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia are internationally recognised as part of Georgia. They have run their own affairs since separatist wars in the 1990s and stepped up their campaign for recognition after Kosovo's independence earlier this year.

The resolution said if Georgia joins NATO, Russia's government should "consider the possibility of speeding up the objective process of Abkhazia and South Ossetia acquiring sovereignty, up to recognition of their independence".

The document was drafted by pro-Kremlin lawmakers in the State Duma, or lower house of parliament. Kremlin loyalists have a large majority in the chamber. Speaker Boris Gryzlov said lawmakers would vote on the resolution on Friday.

Parliament's draft resolution also includes recommendations that the Russian government open missions in the two regions, ease border restrictions and boost economic ties and humanitarian aid for the separatists.

Some observers say Russia will stop short of recognising the breakaway regions.

Agencies
Last Mod: 20 Mart 2008, 16:21
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