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Referendum on South Ossetia joining Russia should be held in special way — leader

February 19, 17:50 UTC+3 TSHINVAL
An issue could be put up for the referendum on including in the constitution a special norm allowing the president to submit a proposal to Russia on accession to the country as a "new subject"
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South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov

South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov

© EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV/POOL

TSHINVAL, February 19. /TASS/. South Ossetia, Georgia’s breakaway region recognized by Moscow as independent state, should hold a referendum on joining Russia in a special way, its leader Leonid Tibilov said in address to the parliament and people on Friday.

"This year we plan to continue consultations with the Russian side on holding the referendum. Taking into account that the issue is complex and sensitive and not wishing to create difficulties for our strategic partner on the international arena, I believe the referendum should be held in a special form," Tibilov said.

Tibilov said an issue could be put up for the referendum on including in the constitution a special norm allowing the president to submit a proposal to Russia on accession to the country as a "new subject."

The republic will get firm constitutional grounds to initiate a process on joining Russia and will not force the Russian side to immediately react to the results of the referendum. Further, South Ossetia will have a possibility following coordination with the Russian side to announce an initiative to join Russia without any delay.

South Ossetia’s president also voiced concerns amid the demands of Western leaders to terminate Russia’s decision on recognizing the republic’s independence in late August 2008. The recognition came after Georgia's attack on South Ossetia that entailed Russia's peacemaking operation.

"We are also concerned by a sharp deterioration of the international situation, the events in Ukraine, in Syria and the whole Middle East, and NATO’s approaching Russia’s borders and the continuing bellicose anti-Russian and anti-Ossetian rhetoric of our southern neighbors," he said.

"In these conditions we feel sharper the need to fulfill our old dream - reunification with the Great Russia and solving the problem of the divided Ossetian people. It is evident that only this way we will gain long-term guarantees of our security and peaceful development for dozens and hundreds of years," Tibilov stressed.

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