MINSK, November 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Belarusian parliament is to consider next week the recognition of the two former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the head of the presidential administration said.
"Next week, the parliament will begin considering the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Vladimir Makei said, adding Belarusian lawmakers are to visit the republics in order "to study the situation."
Russia recognized the two republics shortly after a five-day war with Georgia in August 2008 that began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control. Abkhazia and South Ossetia have also been recognized by Nicaragua and Venezuela.
The two republics' authorities asked Belarus to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia last year. However, Belarus has so far refused to join Russia in recognizing the republics.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in early October that unnamed forces in Russia were to blame for Minsk's refusal. Lukashenko blamed reports in Russia's state-controlled media, which said Belarus's reluctance to recognize the regions was a response to Russia's refusal to grant the remaining $500 million of a loan.
However, Lukashenko then urged Russia to be patient and said "we will settle the issue."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin earlier said Russia is not putting pressure on Belarus to recognize the republics.