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Russia-Abkhazia cooperation agreement to be signed soon - Bagapsh

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An agreement on friendship and cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia is ready and will be signed in the next few days in Moscow, the Abkhaz president said Saturday.
MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - An agreement on friendship and cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia is ready and will be signed in the next few days in Moscow, the Abkhaz president said Saturday.

"A big agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance is almost ready, it consists of 32 articles, we have already drafted it. I think it will be signed in the days to come in Moscow," Sergei Bagapsh told a RIA Novosti press conference. "I think it will happen next week."

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded its operation "to force Georgia to peace." The operation came in response to an attack by Georgian forces on breakaway South Ossetia on August 8.

Moscow said hundreds of civilians were killed in the Georgian attack on South Ossetia, and thousands fled the devastated region.

Russia has now withdrawn its regular troops from Georgia, but insists it can maintain checkpoints in security zones near the regions under the ceasefire deal brokered by France. Moscow has also accused Tbilisi of building up troops near South Ossetia.

Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for its "disproportionate" response to Georgia's attack and the recognition of Georgia's breakaway provinces. NATO-Russia cooperation has also been frozen.

Nicaragua has become the first country after Russia to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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