Ossetia Offers Equal Negotiations to Georgia

TSKHINVALI (Civil Georgia/Itar-Tass)–South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoev called on the Georgian administration to begin equal negotiations to discuss problems of concern to Ossetia and Georgia.

"We will do our best to retain the fragile peace we have achieved thanks to the agreemen’s–but we will have to take adequate measures if Georgia breaks the accords," Kokoev told the press in Tskhinvali on Tuesday.

The situation around South Ossetia is tense–Kokoev told Itar-Tass. "Georgia has simply imitated a pullout. The units are stationed in direct proximity to the South Ossetian border–they have not been withdrawn outside the conflict zone," he said. Kokoev said that provocations had not ceased–referring to the Tuesday seizure of Ossetian buses in the Georgian village of Eredvi.

"Our opponents are not ready for political dialogue. They are inclined to solving the problem of South Ossetia by force," he said.

"We can provide for security of all residents of South Ossetia regardless their nationality," Kokoev said.

Meanwhile–Senior Russian MP Dmitri Rogozin–the leader of the parliamentary faction "Rodina" (Homeland)–met with Kokoev in the capital of breakaway region Tskhinvali on Tuesday.

"Residents of South Ossetia are citizens of the Russian Federation; hence the Russian Duma Council [lower chamber of the Parliament] can not remain indifferent towards the situation here," the Press and Information Committee of South Ossetian reported quoted Rogozin as saying.

Rogozin emphasized that the South Ossetian conflict can be solved only through political means.

"And the priority in the settlement process should be the right of rejoining of the Ossetian people," MP Rogozin added–referring to the Tskhinvali’s deman’s over unification with Russia’s North Ossetian Republic.

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