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    Abkhazia, S.Ossetia no precedent for other rebel regions - Lavrov

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    The recognition by Russia of Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states does not set a precedent for other post-Soviet breakaway regions, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - The recognition by Russia of Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states does not set a precedent for other post-Soviet breakaway regions, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

    Sergei Lavrov said that unlike Georgia, other ex-Soviet states involved in territorial disputes do not plan to use military force to resolve them. "There can be no parallels here," he said.

    Moscow said its counterattack following Georgia's offensive to retake South Ossetia in early August and the subsequent recognition of the two breakaway regions' independence were its moral duty and necessary to protect them from possible new acts of aggression. The majority of Western states have sided with Tbilisi in the dispute, and strongly criticized Russia.

    Lavrov said Russia is committed to its mediation efforts in disputes between Moldova and its breakaway Transdnestr Region, mainly populated by ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, and Armenia-Azerbaijan talks on the disputed Nagorny Karabakh territory.

    "Russia will actively promote a peaceful solution to all the conflicts in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] in line with international law and UN Charter principles," he said. "We will pursue our mediation in peace talks, including over Transdnestr and Nagorny Karabakh."

    "None of the sides engaged in the Nagorny Karabakh and Transdnestr talks have nurtured plans to violate international law, existing agreements, the settlement format and to bomb civilians and peacekeepers," Lavrov said.

    Russia has maintained peacekeepers in all the conflict zones, except Nagorny Karabakh, since the armed conflicts broke out there after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country is party to the OSCE's Minsk Group, also comprising the U.S. and France, which mediates in the Azerbajan-Armenia dispute over the Armenian-populated area of Azerbaijan.

    Russia signed formal cooperation treaties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Wednesday promising military and economic aid to the regions.

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