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EU blasts Russia for recognizing South Ossetia, Abkhazia

(With Georgia-Separatism series) PARIS, Aug 26 (KUNA) -- The European Union Presidency, currently held by France, late Tuesday blasted a Russian decision to accord official recognition to the break-away republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Georgia claims the break-away regions as part of its Republic.
A statement issued by President Nicolas Sarkozy's office, in the name of the EU, said that the 27-member body "firmly condemned" Russia's decision, which President Dmitry Medvedev approved earlier today after a vote in favor Monday by the Russian parliament.
The Russian decision "is contrary to the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as recognized by the United Nations Charter", as well as the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and "pertinent Security Council resolutions," the EU said.
"In this context, the Presidency of the European Union forcefully recalls its attachment to the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia within internationally-recognized borders," the statement continued.
The European Union also reiterated a call for a political solution to the conflict in Georgia and the dispute over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose autonomy Russia has long supported but has not gone as far as pushing for full independence.
But an outbreak of hostilities in the first week of August between Georgian and Russian troops in South Ossetia, led to a Russian incursion into Georgia and a tougher position on South Ossetia.
In the meantime France, which brokered a cease-fire on August 12, is still pushing for a full pullout from Ossetia by Russia, but this is now looking more complicated.
The EU will examine the action it wants to take relative to the latest Russian move when the 27 nations meet in Brussels on September 1. (end) jk.hb KUNA 261956 Aug 08NNNN