Russia, S. Ossetia lawmakers to cooperate

Sept. 2, 2008 at 9:02 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Russian parliamentarians say they're deepening ties to their counterparts in the breakaway Georgia republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Leaders of Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, said they would sign an agreement of cooperation with South Ossetia in Moscow Tuesday, with a similar Abkhazian agreement due soon, RIA Novosti reported.

South Ossetia was sending its own upper house speaker, Znaur Gassiyev, to Moscow to meet with Russian Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov. The interparliamentary agreement was described as a standard document that Russia signs with any independent state.

Russia officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states Aug. 26 in defiance of Western pleas not to.

"Usually these agreements include bilateral contacts, setting up joint committees and working groups to deal with legal issues and their coordination, as well as developing interstate cooperation and partnership at an interparliamentary level," an unnamed Russian source told the news agency.

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