|Moscow to build bases in breakaway regions|
|October 09, 2011|
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced the ratification of treaties to operate military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia for the next 49 years.
Treaties with the two breakaway republics were concluded last year. The Russian military has the option to extend its presence in both republics for 15 years under the terms of the treaty, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Moscow and Tbilisi traded insults Aug. 8, the third anniversary of a Russian military response to Georgia's invasion of the separatist republic of South Ossetia in 2008. The conflict spilled over to engulf forces from Abkhazia.
Moscow recognized both republics shortly after the conflict and signed agreements in 2010 to build permanent military installations there.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told delegates at last week's U.N. General Assembly meeting that Moscow as committed to doing "everything possible" to avoid another war in the region.
NATO, European and U.S. officials in August stood by Georgia after Abkhazia had presidential elections.
Before the vote, Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, reminded Russia that it was obliged under a 2008 cease-fire to pull its forces back to pre-conflict positions and open the areas to humanitarian assistance.
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