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Iranian, Chinese Entities to Bolster Cooperation with Occupied Tskhinvali

In his June 8 interview with the Russian government-controlled news agency TASS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the “prime minister” of the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region, Konstantin Jussoev, said that two Chinese delegations visited the occupied Georgian territory in May to discuss possible investments. According to him, an Iranian delegation also visited the occupied territory and concluded a so-called cooperation agreement.

Speaking of the visits of the two delegations from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the de-facto “prime minister” said that one of them expressed interest in the Kvaisi lead-zinc deposit, and the other delegation proposed to open a factory for the assembly of Chinese cars in the occupied Tskhinvali region.

“We have not yet determined the brand [of cars which are to be assembled], but our delegation is going to visit the People’s Republic of China in October, the conversation will continue and we will negotiate in more detail. But I want to note that realization of any joint projects will be happen only after the assessment of economic feasibility and efficiency of the projects offered to South Ossetia,” the de-facto Tskhinvali official said.

As for the delegation from Iran, “for its part, the South Ossetian delegation is also planning to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran, and I think we will expand international cooperation in the process,” the de-facto Tskhinvali official said.

Throughout the interview, the de-facto official talked about the de-facto authorities efforts to attract investments and develop the tourism sector in the occupied territory. He discussed projects under the investment program of preferential loans by the Russian banks – including a cannery and a natural stone processing plant. contacted the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iranian Embassy in Tbilisi. Attempts to reach the Chinese Embassy in Georgia have been unsuccessful so far. We have not yet received a response from the Georgian MFA.

The Iranian Embassy provided the following statement:

“As we have emphasized numerous times, it is the principle policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect the independence and the territorial integrity of states. Despite numerous offers and requests from its partners, Iran has clearly and openly stated its position regarding support for the independence and territorial integrity of the friendly country, Georgia. That is why no representative of any branch of the Iranian government has ever visited or had cooperation in these regions. Even when representatives of the private sector address us with questions about the economic opportunities in these regions, we provide them with information on the travel restrictions imposed in the mentioned regions according to the legislation of Georgia. Iran’s private sector, like Georgia’s private sector, abides by trade laws and economic agenda. We hope that in case of appropriate conditions, Iranian private companies will be able to assess the convenient investment opportunities of Georgia in the region and increase Iranian investments in the Georgian market.” This is the unofficial translation of the Georgian language response provided by the Iranian Embassy.

Last year the People’s Republic of China and Georgia issued a joint statement on the strategic partnership according to which the two sides reaffirm their respect for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all countries and Georgia firmly adheres to the one-China principle.

This year, both the PRC and Iran abstained in the UN General Assembly vote on the resolution reiterating the right of return of all displaced persons and refugees to Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

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