Georgian parliament urges cutting ties with Moscow

TBILISI (Reuters) – Georgia’s parliament approved a resolution on Thursday calling on the government to cut diplomatic ties with Russia after Moscow backed the secession of two Georgian rebel regions.

Deputies voted by 106 votes to nil for the non-binding resolution which said the parliament “commissions the executive power to cut diplomatic ties with Russia”.

It called on the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili to declare Russian military forces in Georgia “illegal” and “occupying forces.”

The government, it said, should “declare Abkhazia and South Ossetia territories under Russian occupation”.

Russia recognized the two breakaway regions on Tuesday as independent states under its protection. Earlier this month it sent tanks and troops over its southern border to repel a Georgian military offensive to retake South Ossetia from pro-Moscow separatists.

Tbilisi said on Wednesday it was recalling all but two diplomats from its embassy in Moscow. Georgia had already recalled its ambassador in July after Russia admitted to sending fighter jets into Georgian airspace.

In an interview with Reuters early on Wednesday, Saakashvili appeared to brush off the idea of cutting diplomatic relations with Georgia’s former Soviet master.

“I think these are details,” he said. “This is beyond bilateral relations now … I would not focus too much on procedural aspects of our bilateral relations right now.”

In practice, cutting ties would be a mainly symbolic protest because dialogue between Russia and Georgia is virtually non-existent. “They’ve never taken us seriously,” Saakashvili said in the interview.

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