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South Ossetia willing to join Russia, but now this may harm Moscow — republic’s leader

May 29, 2015, 8:24 UTC+3

South Ossetia may be recognized by a whole range of countries in Latin America and Africa

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Leonid Tibilov

Leonid Tibilov

© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Karpov

TSKHINVAL, May 29. /TASS/. South Ossetia’s people seek reunification with North Ossetia as part of Russia, but Tskhinval understands that such plans in the current geopolitical environment may harm Moscow, the republic’s president Leonid Tibilov said in an exclusive interview with TASS.

"If we pose a question when the moment will come [for joining Russia] then I can say that we have a very careful approach on this issue," Tibilov said. "Both South Ossetia’s president and government members presume that we should not damage Russia’s interests at this difficult time when the geopolitical situation is very uneasy," he said.

"This idea came not just now, it is logical and it existed in the Soviet time," he said. "Then I heard from the elderly and young people, and people of same age that no matter how the situation developed, South Ossetia should in prospect rejoin North Ossetia. It used to be one people, but now it is divided," he said.

"The idea exists, we got it from our ancestors and we will pass it to our younger generation," Tibilov added.

Tibilov stressed that Tskhinval does not want to put its strategic partner and ally Russia at risk. "But we are waiting for this historic moment, we know the determination of our people, and people will definitely say ‘yes,’" he added.

"I study thoroughly the sentiment of our people and this idea belongs to every Ossetian," he said.

Speaking on whether this issue should be put up for a referendum , the president reminded that such expressions of will have been already conducted. The referendum was held in South Ossetia on January 19, 1992 when people voted in favor of independence and a reunification prospect, he said.

"There have been several other referendums, when our people expressed their relation to the accession issues," Tibilov said.

"Should a new referendum be carried out de jure, then there are separate opinions here. But our people are ready if needed to hold such a referendum and to vote in favor of accession," he stressed.

Tibilov also noted that South Ossetia may be recognized by a whole range of countries, not only in Latin America but also in Africa.

"There is a whole range of countries of Africa and Latin America to which we have appealed and they answer to us that certain work is underway," the president said.

South Ossetia's leader is planning to visit Russia within the next few days.

"I plan to travel to Russia in the coming days," he said. "There are certain questions which should be discussed."

Leonid Tibilov came to Moscow in May for Victory Day celebrations. "My visit on May 8-10 left special impressions, it was an unforgettable moment in my life. It was great, it was serious, it was powerful," he said. "I would like to wish all the people to experience the emotions which we saw in Moscow."

"I was once again convinced that Russia was straightening its shoulders and gave such an opportunity not only to its people, but also to peoples who are close to Russia," the president noted. "I think Russia have always been committed to finding peaceful solutions to problems."

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