Georgia hails Belarus stance on Abkhazia, South Ossetia

TBILISI, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili welcomed on Friday Belarus's advisory for its citizens to enter the country's self-proclaimed republics via Georgia, not Russia.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry urged its nationals on Thursday to comply with Georgian laws in planning trips to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"Look at what is happening in the post-Soviet area. The Belarusian government has warned its citizens about the responsibility for illegally entering Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Saakashvili said.

"I cannot but welcome the actions by the Belarusian leader, who has decided to rule out such violations of Georgian laws. This is a very bold decision by the Belarusian president."

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said the Belarusian move was "illogical," "incomprehensible" and at odds with the official line.

Russia recognized the two republics' independence last August after expelling Georgian forces from South Ossetia, which Tbilisi had attacked in an effort to bring it back under central control.

Moscow reportedly has put strong pressure on Belarus to recognize the two republics, but Nicaragua is the only other country to follow Russia's lead.



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