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Russia, South Ossetia sign state border treaty

February 18, 2015, 13:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the state border treaty proves Russia is not trying to annex South Ossetia

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Foreign ministers of South Ossetia and Russia, David Sanakoev and Sergey Lavrov

Foreign ministers of South Ossetia and Russia, David Sanakoev and Sergey Lavrov

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his South Ossetian counterpart David Sanakoyev signed a treaty on state border on Wednesday.

"We have made a new important step [the signing of a treaty on Russia’s state border with South Ossetia] in formalizing our relations, which will help dispel speculations about what our relations are," Lavrov said.

Russia’s relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia will continue developing on an equitable and mutually respectful basis, Lavrov stressed.

"A treaty on the state border is an attribute of any state, including Russia and South Ossetia," Lavrov said at the signing ceremony, adding Russia was preparing to sign a similar treaty with Abkhazia.

The Treaty on Allied Relations and Strategic Partnership, which Russia and Abkhazia signed in November, has the goal of ensuring a maximum comfortable border crossing regime, Lavrov said.

"The same wording is included in the Treaty on Allied Relations and Integration with South Ossetia," he said. "Largely speaking, this confirms once again that our relations with both republics are equally positive," the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov reminded that the European Union has practically no borders and both EU member-states and the Schengen area countries move without any customs procedures. "We want a similar regime with all our neighbors," he said.

In his turn, South Ossetia’s foreign minister said after the meeting with Lavrov that since the treaty has been signed, all talks that Russia is attempting to "annex" South Ossetia should end.

The document says that a state border is defined between "two sovereign states," Sanakoyev said.

Russia recognized independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008. The two young nations had been de facto independent for the more than fifteen years before that.

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