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Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia is seeking
Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia is seeking to join the CIS and the Russia-Belarus Union State, the republic's president said on Thursday.

The CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States, is an alliance of ex-Soviet states.

Russia recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on August 26, two weeks after it had expelled Georgian troops from the region following Tbilisi's August 8 offensive against South Ossetia.

"I think that after signing the cooperation agreement we will apply to join the Union State. If the CIS expands, we are also ready to participate as well as in the Collective Security Treaty Organization," Sergei Bagapsh told a meeting of the Valdai Club.

He said Abkhazia would sign what he called "fundamental" treaties with Russia and South Ossetia on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance in the next few days.

Bagapsh dismissed reports that Abkhazia was seeking associate territory status with Russia.

"The issue is out of question. Russia has no claims, nor does it want to cede anything," he said, adding that the people of Abkhazia had chosen independence by referendum.

The Abkhaz leader said, however, his republic would continue to develop friendly ties with Russia, which he described as Abkhazia's "reliable partner, people who helped us during difficult times."

Bagapsh said that Abkhazia wanted to establish a peaceful, democratic and legal-based state.

"We do not want war against anyone," he said. "We do not need a single square meter of Georgian territory, but we will not cede our land either, nor the Gali district, or the Kodori gorge."

Bagapsh announced his republic would sign an agreement with Russia on the deployment of Russian military bases in Abkhazia to prevent further conflict and strengthen its defenses.

He said the agreement would prevent "genocide and a repetition of events in South Ossetia."

This year, the Valdai Club will discuss the 21st century international geopolitical revolution and Russia's role in it. The discussions are organized by RIA Novosti, the Foreign and Defense Policy Council, The Moscow News paper, the Russia in Global Affairs and Russia Profile magazines.


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