MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russia and South Ossetia are not discussing unification now but it is up to the republic’s people to decide on the issue, South Ossetian Foreign Minister David Sanakoyev said at a news conference in TASS on Wednesday.
"The way of further development of relations between South Ossetia and Russia will be determined by our country’s people," Sanakoyev said. "If such a wish [to unite with Russia] is voiced, relevant procedures will be conducted."
For the time being, he said, the talk is about cooperation as independent states.
"All recent statements by our counterparts from the Russian Foreign Ministry, including [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov, show our Russian counterparts also perceive South Ossetia as a sovereign state," Sanakoyev said.
"Russia has recognized us and helps us solve all urgent issues connected with reinforcement of our statehood and the development of the social-economic sphere. This also relates to the sphere of security and international recognition," he said.
"As of today, we are moving in that direction," Sanakoyev said.
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.