Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday said he was recognising the pro-Russian rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, a boost to Moscow's campaign for their international acceptance.
Chavez told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a visit to Moscow that his country would consider the two regions -- viewed by most of the world as part of Georgia -- sovereign states "from today", Russian news agencies reported.
Until Thursday, Nicaragua was the only country apart from Russia to recognise the two regions as independent.
"Venezuela is joining the recognition of the independence of the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Chavez was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency.
"From today we recognise these two republics," the agency quoted him as saying.
Russia recognised the two regions as independent in August 2008 after a crushing a Georgian attempt to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia, which split from Tbilisi's rule in the early 1990s and has run its own affairs ever since.
Moscow's allies in the former Soviet Union, fearful of setting precedents which could threaten their own sovereignty, have so far resisted pressure to follow suit and recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Georgia, backed by the European Union and the United States, has condemned the Russian-sponsored moves as illegal and has called for its full territorial integrity to be respected.
Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2009, 16:36