Georgian breakaway state 'will become Russian'

The breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today confidently predicted it would become part of Russia.

The breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today confidently predicted it would become part of Russia.

Three days after Moscow recognised it as independent, parliamentary speaker Znaur Gassiyev, said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the region’s leader, Eduard Kokoity, discussed the idea earlier this week.

They agreed Russia would absorb South Ossetia “in several years” or earlier, he said.

Meanwhile Georgia announced today it would recall all diplomatic staff from its embassy in Moscow in protest at the presence of Russian troops on its territory.

Georgia’s parliament had urged the government to sever diplomatic ties, calling Russia an “aggressor country” and a Georgian MP said his country will eventually regain control of South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia.

“The separatist regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Russian authorities are cut off from reality,” Gigi Tsereteli said. “The world has already become different and Russia will not long be able to occupy sovereign Georgian territory.

“The regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should think about the fact that if they become part of Russia, they will be assimilated and in this way they will disappear,” he added.

Moscow’s recognition on Tuesday of South Ossetia and the other separatist province, Abkhazia, came on the back of the short war that began on August 7, when Georgia launched a military offensive to retake South Ossetia. Russia responded by rolling hundreds of tanks into the province and pushed the Georgian army out.

The crisis has prompted an emergency EU summit on Monday with some countries pressing for sanctions against Russia.

But a high-ranking official in French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said that for now “we don’t foresee any sanctions decided on by the European Council.”

France currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Meanwhile, Russia and South Ossetia plan to sign an agreement on the placement of Russian military bases in South Ossetia.

The province’s deputy parliamentary speaker Tarzan Kokoiti said South Ossetians have the right to reunite with North Ossetia, which is part of Russia.

“Soon there will be no North or South Ossetia – there will be a united Alania as part of Russia,” he said, using another name for Ossetia.

“We will live in one united Russian state.”

The divided country of Moldova, itself worried about Russian interference, today insisted other nations should not follow Russia’s lead in recognising the independence of the breakaway states.

The government said: “The Moldovan government does not consider that the international recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will bring stability” to the Caucasus region.

It added that it rejected any comparison between the situation in Georgia and the Moldovan separatist region of Trans-Dniester.

Trans-Dniester broke away from Moldova in 1990. It is not recognised internationally, but it is supported by Russia.

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