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PACE invites Abkhazia, S. Ossetia to attend Strasbourg session


MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - The head of PACE invited representatives from Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Monday to attend the assembly's next session in Strasbourg aimed at restoring dialogue between Russia and Georgia.

The Ad hoc Committee of the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held a meeting in Valencia, Spain, to discuss the current state in Russia and Georgia relations.

Following the meeting PACE President Lluis Maria de Puig welcomed the readiness by the Russian and Georgian delegations to continue dialogue and invited representatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia to attend the next session in Strasbourg in late April.

"We therefore decided to involve representatives of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian communities in our next meeting, which will take place in Strasbourg on the occasion of the spring Session from 27 to 30 April," PACE quoted de Puig as saying in a statement.

Russia recognized the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states on August 26, 2008, two weeks after the end of a five-day war with Georgia. The conflict began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under central control.

Nicaragua has so far been the only other country to follow Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia split from Georgia in the early 1990s, and most people in both republics have also held Russian citizenship for a number of years.

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