Russia isolated as allies withhold support

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Russia was dealt a humiliating blow by its own allies today after a specially convened summit in Tajikistan withheld support for the Kremlin’s recognition of the independence of the two breakaway regions.

A statement issued by four former Soviet republics in central Asia, plus China, insisted on the need to preserve "the unity of a state and its territorial integrity. The statement, which could mark a turning point in the diplomatic crisis raging over the Georgia conflict, went on to say that "placing the emphasis exclusively on the use of force has no prospects and hinders a comprehensive settlement of local conflicts.

Russia has been almost universally condemned for President Dmitry Medvedev’s decree on Tuesday that recognised the independence of Georgia’s breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The European Union is to discuss how to persuade Russia to change course at an emergency summit on Monday. But Foreign Office sources said that EU sanctions, which were mentioned today by the French Foreign Minister, are not expected to be on the table.