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Belarus to consider recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

MINSK -- The Belarussian parliament plans to consider the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia next week, Russian media reported Thursday.

"Next week, the parliament will start considering the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Vladimir Makei, head of the presidential administration, as saying.

The Belarusian parliament has resolved to establish a working group to consider the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Thursday.

The parliament's CIS and foreign affairs commission "has resolved to establish a working group from members of both houses of parliament to prepare the [recognition] issue for consideration in Belarus's National Assembly," commission head Sergei Maskevich said.

The commission has also suggested sending a parliamentary delegation of about 10 lawmakers to Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia to study the situation in the region. The visit is tentatively scheduled for late November.

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 republic.

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