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The issue of Georgia's breakaway republics should be decided by Tbilisi together with the international community, not by Russia
The issue of Georgia's breakaway republics should be decided by Tbilisi together with the international community, not by Russia, the speaker of the Georgian parliament said Tuesday. The popular Russian daily Kommersant reported earlier that Russia has worked out a plan on the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to the plan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will reunite with Georgia as a confederation. They will formally be part of Georgia, but will enjoy de-facto independence recognized by the international community. "I don't think that is up to Russia to decide," Nino Burdzhanadze said. "In fact, I am convinced of that." "The model will be harmonized with the Georgian side and the international community, absolutely protecting the rights of all Abkhazians, Ossetians, and all ethnic groups, but there will be no place for such outrageous practices that exist today in Russia with respect to ethnic Georgians and Georgian nationals," she said. "If Russia wants to, it can use the Kosovo model on its own soil." Georgia's leadership has pledged to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which declared their independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, back under its control. Abkhazia, a self-proclaimed republic in Georgia, cannot coexist with Georgia as a single country, and will continue its struggle for independence, the region's president said last Wednesday. Over 20,000 people from across the unrecognized republic gathered Wednesday in Sukhumi, Abkhazia's capital, for a 'national gathering' to show their determination to gain full independence from Georgia, and to draw international attention to the issue. During the bloody conflict for Abkhazia's independence in the early 1990s, 10,000 people were killed on both sides, and 300,000 fled the region. On October 13, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a Russian-sponsored draft resolution on Georgia, urging the ex-Soviet republic to refrain from provocative actions in Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge, and calling for an extension of the Russian peacekeeping mission in the breakaway region until April 15, 2007. People at the 'national gathering' adopted a statement, in which they appealed for international recognition of Abkhazia's independence. The United States, European Union and international organizations still consider Abkhazia to be an integral part of Georgia. Russia has stressed the right of breakaway regions in post-Soviet states to self-determination, and has drawn a parallel with Kosovo's drive for independence from Serbia. South Ossetia, which also separated from Georgia in the early 1990s following a series of violent clashes, held presidential elections and a referendum on secession from Georgia November 12. Incumbent President Eduard Kokoity won a landslide victory, and locals gave their resounding backing for independence. Pro-Western Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who swept into power on the back of a 'color' revolution in 2003 and has vowed to bring the self-proclaimed republics back into the fold, accuses Russia of backing the region's separatists.
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