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01:03 GMT +3 hours23 December 2014
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Belarus to consider recognizing S.Ossetia, Abkhazia on April 2

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The Belarusian parliament will consider recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on April 2, a senior Belarusian lawmaker said on Thursday.
MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - The Belarusian parliament will consider recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on April 2, a senior Belarusian lawmaker said on Thursday.

"The issue is being discussed among members of the House of Representatives. The [final] decision will be made at a plenary session on April 2," said Valery Ivanov, deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states on August 26 last year, two weeks after the end of a five-day military conflict which began when Georgian forces launched an attack on South Ossetia in order to bring the rebel province under central control.

Only Nicaragua has so far followed suit.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko earlier said that if parliament recognized the rebel republics' independence, he would "sign the appropriate document."

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