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May 30, 2018 10:34 am

US Condemns Syrian Plan to Recognize Georgia’s Breakaway Regions

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Soldiers loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad at the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, April 29, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Omar Sanadiki.

The United States on Wednesday condemned Syria’s decision to recognize two breakaway regions in Georgia, saying it fully supported Georgia’s independence and reiterating its call for Russia to withdraw troops from the area.

“The United States strongly condemns the Syrian regime’s intention to establish diplomatic relations with the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“These regions are part of Georgia. The United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unwavering,” the statement said.

The US statement came one day after Georgia said it would sever diplomatic relations with Syria after Damascus moved to recognize the two regions as independent states.

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Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru also recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Following that fight in the early 1990s, Georgia and Russia fought another war over the regions in August 2008.

The United States and European Union have backed Georgia in calling the Russian operation a naked land grab.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged deeper security and economic support for Georgia. He also called on Russia to withdraw its forces from Abkhazia and South Ossetia under the ceasefire agreement that followed the 2008 war, a call echoed by the department’s statement on Wednesday.

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