Igor Smirnov, leader of Transdniester (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
June 14, 2006 -- The separatist leaders of the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the Transdniester separatist region of Moldova today declared that the right to self-determination is universal and should not be upheld selectively.
Montenegro's declaration of independence in May has prompted renewed calls by the three regions to be recognized as independent states by the international community.
In a joint declaration at the end of a two-day meeting in Sukhumi, Abkhazia's Sergei Bagapsh, South Ossetia's Eduard Kokoity,and Transdniester's Igor Smirnov vowed to support each other's independence aspirations.
They also called for the continued deployment of Russian troops on their territory, saying that stability in the regions they govern depends on the presence of Russian-led peacekeepers.
The three regions, none of which has been unrecognized internationally, broke away from Georgia and Moldova in civil wars after the 1991 Soviet collapse. All three maintain close ties with Russia.
President Putin at a Kremlin meeting in April (epa)
PUTIN SPEAKS OUT: During a January press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there is a need for "universal principles" to settle "frozen" conflicts in the CIS. His comments came against the background of impending talks on the future status of Kosovo, which many predict will grant it a form of "conditional independence" from Serbia and Montenegro. As an ally of Serbia, Moscow has consistently opposed the idea of Kosovar independence. Putin's remarks suggest he may be shifting his position, but only if the principles applied to Kosovo are also applied to frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. If Kosovo can be granted full independence, he asked, why should we deny the same to Abkhazia and South Ossetia? (more)
Putin Calls For 'Universal Principles' To Settle Frozen Conflicts
Russia Key To OSCE's Attempts To Resolve Frozen Conflicts
Georgia Pushes For EU Backing In Standoffs With Russia
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