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Russia-South Ossetia alliance treaty shapes common defense space, says republic’s leader

March 18, 2015, 19:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW

From now on, Russia sees encroachment on the borders of South Ossetia as encroachment on its own borders with all ensuing consequences

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© Mikhail Metsel/TASS

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. The treaty on alliance and integration that Russia and South Ossetia signed on Wednesday forms a common defense space, the head of the Caucasian republic, Leonid Tibilov, told TASS.

"From now on, Russia sees encroachment on the borders of South Ossetia as encroachment on its own borders with all ensuing consequences," he said.

"The order of state border protection has been clearly formulated in the treaty," he said, noting that military cooperation was a major component in the treaty.

"This accent on security is a logical move in the situation when active work is under way at our border to boost military potentials of Georgia and expand military activity and the presence of the North Atlantic Alliance," the South Ossetian leader said.

"For the past few years, Georgia helped by allies has been building up and intensively equipping its army on the pattern of NATO troops, repeatedly stating its bid to join that bloc," he said.

Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia was in the focus of a war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, declaring independence in the aftermath. It was recognized by Russia, and only a few other countries followed suit, while the rest of the world considers the territory part of Georgia.

The South Ossetian leader said sooner or later Georgia would realize the expediency of recognizing republic’s independence.

"As of the present moment, Georgia categorically rejects any initiatives of the South Ossetian republic aimed at ensuring security guarantees, refusing to recognize the statehood of South Ossetia," its head said.

"It is clear that we cannot expect quick changes here and we don’t indulge in illusions. However, dust will settle in time and new, more pragmatic approaches will prevail in Georgia," Tibilov said.

Focusing on the importance of the treaty for business activity in South Ossetia, Tibilov said it was giving a new quality of guarantees to business people planning to invest in the republic.

"Investment money is very sensitive to security. High risks and a stable inflow of investment are hardly compatible," he continued.

On Wednesday, the Russian and South Ossetian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Leonid Tibilov, signed in Moscow an alliance and integration treaty, aimed at establishing closer cooperation in social, economic and humanitarian sectors, as well as on foreign policy, defence and security, while retaining the state sovereignty of South Ossetia. The treaty was signed for a period of 25 years.

Russia will ensure defense and security of South Ossetia and protect the country’s borders, according to the treaty. The treaty envisages forming a common defense and security space between Russia and South Ossetia, as well as free border crossing between Russia and South Ossetia, taking into account restrictions in place for security concerns.

The document stipulates that Moscow and Tskhinval will conduct a coordinated foreign policy.

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