Nicaragua recognizes South Ossetia, Abkhazia

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) -- Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is formally recognizing the independence of two breakaway Georgian provinces.

Nicaragua is the first country other than Russia, to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The announcement is a victory for Russia, which is looking for allies in its war in Georgia. The intervention in Georgia has plunged Russia's relations with the West to their post-Cold War low.

The Nicaraguan decree was read during a press conference Friday at Nicaragua's Foreign Ministry.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently expressed support for recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but he has not taken formal action.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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