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South Ossetian Official Says Passports To Be Valid In Russia

TSKHINVALI, Georgia -- Murat Dzhioyev, the foreign minister of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia, said today in parliament that South Ossetian passports will be recognized in Russia, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

He also said that the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia is awaiting recognition of its independence by some former Soviet republics, mostly by Belarus.

Dzhioyev added that South Ossetian consulates will start operating in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and a number of other large cities in Russia in the near future.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the other breakaway Georgian region, declared their independence in August 2008 after a five-day military conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Russia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are the only countries that have recognized the two regions' independence.