Belarus must refrain from recognizing ex-Georgian states - Saakashvili

Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili says he hopes Belarus would not give its vote for the sovereignty of former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"I believe that Belarus will make a wise move as we [Georgia] received a group of lawmakers from Belarus recently and they considered the issue very deliberately," Saakashvili said in an interview with Belarus television.

The Georgian president added that "Russia keeps applying pressure on Belarus concerning the issue of recognizing the independence of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia recognized their independence 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.

Only Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru have followed suit.

Belarus was expected to do the same but dragged its feet for more than almost two year on the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and experts believe Minsk is afraid that this move would worsen its relations with the European Union.

MINSK, July 16 (RIA Novosti)


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