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De Facto South Ossetian Leader on New Defense Agreement with Russia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 15 Jan.'17 / 14:21

Leader of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov said that the region “has done its part of work” on the planned defense agreement with the Russian federation “On the Order of Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces” and added that South Ossetia is now expecting the “completed draft” from the Russian side.

Speaking at the yearly sum-up conference of the breakaway region’s ministry of defense on January 12, Tibilov noted that “South Ossetia plays an important role in strengthening the geopolitical presence of Russia in South Caucasus” and underlined the “the high level of cooperation” with the Russian federation, the republic’s “major strategic partner,” according to the statement of the South Ossetian ministry of defence.

Speaking before the audience of South Ossetian and Russian military personnel, Tibilov noted that “[Moscow and Tskhinvali] have worked out a single line of defense.”

Tibilov also touched upon the planned defense agreement with the Russian federation “On the Order of Inclusion of Individual Units of the Armed forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces” and thanked the region’s officials for their “patience, knowledge and understanding” that South Ossetia “needs to have its system of defense in the form of the armed forces.”

”There were many difficulties in the interpretation of provisions and norms of the agreement; the Ministry of Defense sent numerous delegation to the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense. Compromise was reached and following internal procedures [in Russia and South Ossetia], the agreement will be signed,” the region’s de facto Defense Minister Ibragim Gasiev said.

“We managed to maintain the number of armed forces of South Ossetia, and all changes to the organizational and staff structures will be conducted by us after the agreement is signed. This way, the ministry of defence will keep its combat units. This is our firm position,” Gasiev added.

“There are different opinions on the issue [referring to the number of armed forces]. Some think that the measures of the state’s security have already been achieved thanks to the armed forces of the Russian Federation, which is a firm guarantor of the security of South Ossetia. The opinion of all military officials and personnel of the Ministry of Defense of South Ossetia is that defense and security needs to be guaranteed shoulder-to-shoulder, through joint coordinated activities, considering the military brotherhood and friendship. For that, the republic needs to have small but mobile and equipped armed forces,” Ibragim Gasiev was quoted saying according to the statement of the de facto president’s office.

Gasiev also noted that as a result of the agreement the Russian Federation will recognise the military service in the armed forces of South Ossetia. Work is underway on the recognition of military ranks as well, according to the statement of the South Ossetian ministry of defence.

The new agreement is part of the treaty on “alliance and integration” signed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Leonid Tibilov on March 18, 2015. According to the treaty, “certain units of the armed forces and security agencies of the South Ossetian Republic will become part of the armed forces and security agencies of the Russian Federation.”

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