Belarus has no more to say on Georgia regions-source

MINSK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will not add to his earlier announcement on Georgia's breakaway regions in which he stopped short of recognising South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a government source said on Thursday.

Russian news agencies had cited Minsk's ambassador to Russia as saying that Lukashenko would announce support for the regions on Thursday or Friday, but the embassy itself told Reuters the envoy's comments had been misinterpreted.

"We do not expect any other announcements today. The ambassador had in mind the president's statement that was already made," a government source told Reuters.

The position taken by Lukashenko will hold for the coming days, the source said, though it was unclear whether this meant he could change his stance afterwards.

Agencies cited Belarussian Ambassador Vasily Dolgolev as saying that Minsk could not "support the aggression which was unleashed by Georgia," and that he thought Russia's decision on the status of the regions was "correct".

"This was a completely incorrect way of treating the words of the ambassador", the embassy later told Reuters.

Moscow's recognition of the two regions, after Russian troops fought back Georgian forces trying to retake South Ossetia, drew condemnation in the West.

Russia has put pressure on traditional ally Belarus, criticised by the West of violating human rights, to follow suit.

But Belarus has been striving for better relations with the European Union and the United States, releasing the last of what the West labelled as political prisoners. The EU said it may review sanctions following their release.

Earlier, Lukashenko said Russia had had no choice but to recognise the independence of the two regions. Russia is the only country to have recognised the regions. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Richard Balmforth)



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