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Russia, South Ossetia to sign new integration treaty in February

December 26, 2014, 13:56 UTC+3 TSKHINVAL

Russia and South Ossetia are preparing several versions of the treaty, and the final document is not expected to be a copy of Moscow’s agreement with Abkhazia

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President of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov

President of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Karpov

TSKHINVAL, December 26. /TASS/. Russia and South Ossetia are due to sign a new treaty on deepening integration in early February 2015, the president of the republic, Leonid Tibilov, told journalists on Friday.

The treaty on alliance and integration will be ready for public discussion “in the coming days,” Tibilov said. A group comprising members of the republic’s political council is currently working on the draft document.

Russia and South Ossetia are preparing several versions of the treaty, and the final document is not expected to be “an exact copy” of Moscow’s agreement with neighboring Abkhazia, but their concept is likely to be the same, a Kremlin source told TASS.

Some integration processes with South Ossetia could be much deeper than those envisaged by the treaty with Abkhazia, the source said, adding that in some directions the republic would be strengthening ties with Russia at the same rate.

The sides are due to announce a final decision after completing consultations in mid-January, the source said.

Earlier this month, Tibilov said the treaty would help South Ossetia strengthen its security and get new opportunities for social and economic development, although “the range of integration can be pretty wide: from becoming part of Russia to associated partnership.”

Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, who paid a working visit to South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinval earlier this week, said the new treaty when signed would set tasks for the two countries, which require additional financing.

The treaty will entail additional liabilities, including material ones, and Russia is ready to sustain them, Surkov said, adding that the difficult economic situation in Russia would be no obstacle for the plans.

The current treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual help between Russia and South Ossetia was signed in Moscow in September 2008. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in August 2008.

In late November, Russia and Abkhazia signed in Sochi a treaty that builds safeguards along the republic's border with Georgia, from which it sought independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and proposes to form a united military force with Russia within a year to counter any external threat.

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