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Lebanon could recognize S.Ossetia, Abkhazia

Ria Novosti -- Lebanon wants to establish contacts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and may consider recognizing the two Georgian separatist republics as independent, Russian daily Vremya Novostei reported on Monday.

Russia recognized the republics as independent after its brief war with Georgia, which attacked South Ossetia on August 8. Nicaragua is so far the only other country to have recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The paper quoted Saad Hariri, leader of the Lebanese parliamentary majority Future Movement, as saying: "The recognition issue will be decided at the top level of government. We are about to start establishing contacts with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Delegations of our businessmen will soon be sent there."

At a meeting with Hariri last Friday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged Moscow's economic and political assistance to Beirut.

Hariri told the paper that supplies of military hardware had been discussed, and would be considered in detail during a visit to Russia by Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr in November or early December.

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