Belarus parliament shelves recognition of S.Ossetia, Abkhazia

The Belarusian parliament will not hold hearings on recognizing the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia before spring 2010, a senior lawmaker said on Friday.

The two regions formally requested ex-Soviet Belarus to recognize them a year ago, but Minsk has delayed its decision, torn between traditional ally Russia and the EU, which backs Georgia's claim to sovereignty over the republics.

"Today is the last day of the fall session, and the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has not been included in the agenda," said Sergei Maskevich, head of the lower house foreign relations and CIS affairs committee.

Russia recognized the republics in August 2008 after repelling Georgia's assault on South Ossetia in a five-day war. Only Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru have followed suit.

Belarus sent members of parliament to the regions and to Georgia in November to study the situation on the ground.

Maskevich said members of the working group considering the issue are not unanimous.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in armed conflicts in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Georgia severed ties with Russia after it recognized the regions' independence, calling them occupied territories. Tensions in the area remain high although skirmishes and other incident have declined in number in recent months.

MINSK, December 18 (RIA Novosti)


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