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South Ossetia fears that Georgia may attack again — foreign minister

February 18, 2015, 16:00 UTC+3

South Ossetia is reinforcing its border with Georgia

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A destroyed Georgian tank seen in Tskhinval after the conflict in 2008

A destroyed Georgian tank seen in Tskhinval after the conflict in 2008

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matytsin

MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Fears that Georgia will attack South Ossetia again remain, South Ossetian Foreign Minister David Sanakoyev said Wednesday at a news conference in TASS.

"As of today," Sanakoyev said, "we fear that Georgia could attack the republic of South Ossetia again because it does not want to guarantee the opposite - that it wants to live in peace with South Ossetia."

South Ossetia has not received a response from Georgia to the proposal to establish a joint commission to define the border between the two countries, Sanakoyev said.

"We have turned to the Georgian side to establish a joint commission to determine the border between Georgia and the republic of South Ossetia," Sanakoyev said. "We also turned to them via co-chairmen, co-moderators of the Geneva discussions, used the Geneva site. But we have not received a response from Georgia yet."

"So we are continuing work to reinforce our border unilaterally," he said.

Sanakoyev also commented on the agreement on alliance and integration with Russia signed earlier today and said that the deal does not envisage South Ossetia’s accession to Russia.

"If people of South Ossetia show wish to join Russia, corresponding procedures will follow; meanwhile efforts are in progress to strengthen statehood," said the diplomat.

Russia and Georgia cut off diplomatic ties after Moscow recognized as independent two Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The recognition followed Georgia's attack on South Ossetia that entailed Russia's peacemaking operation in August 2008.

"Dragging" Georgia into NATO not to facilitate stability in Caucasus

According to the republic's foreign minister, South Ossetia is concerned over NATO's growing activities in Georgia.

David Sanakoyev voiced concern over NATO's training camps and plans to conduct exercises in the Caucasus country.

"Security should be kept at a high level," the minister said at a news conference in TASS.

NATO announced plans in early February to open a military training center in Georgia for NATO members and partner states and to hold military exercises in Georgia this year.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russia and South Ossetia are confident that "dragging" Georgia into NATO will not facilitate stability in Transcaucasia.

"We discussed cooperation on the international arena and participation of our countries in the Geneva discussions on Transcaucasia," Lavrov said.

"We confirmed that it is necessary to sign binding agreements on non-use of force that would prevent the repetition of 2008 events," the foreign minister stressed.

"This task is particularly relevant in the framework of continuing process of dragging Tbilisi into NATO," Lavrov said. "We agree [with South Ossetia] that it will not facilitate efforts on strengthening security in Transcaucasia," he added.

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