MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti)
South Ossetia’s foreign minister, David Sanakoyev, will pay an official visit to Russia on October 8-9, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
“The Russian and South Ossetian foreign ministers will exchange opinions on urgent issues on the bilateral agenda, first of all in the context of preparation for the upcoming official visit to Russia by South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov,” the ministry said.
The sides will also discuss the regional situation and ways to strengthen Russian-South Ossetian cooperation on the international arena, including the two countries’ participation in the Geneva discussions on stability and security in the Caucasus.
The Geneva discussions have been taking place since October 2008 on the basis of agreements reached following the August 2008 war over South Ossetia. Delegations from Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the United States, South Ossetia, the EU, the UN and the OSCE take part in the meetings.
Russia fought a war with Georgia in 2008 over South Ossetia, and the territory remains at the heart of tensions in the Russian-Georgian relationship. Georgia suffered a humiliating defeat, and the de facto loss of one-fifth of its territory, as Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway republic, Abkhazia.
Six United Nations member states recognize the independence of Abkhazia and five recognize South Ossetia. The United States, the EU, and a majority of UN member states have affirmed Georgia’s territorial integrity and do not recognize the regions’ independence.
The Geneva discussions are the only format for dialogue between representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The discussions focus on the signing of an agreement on non-use of force. Tbilisi does not want to sign the deal with Tskhinvali and Sukhumi saying the conflict was between Georgia and Russia, while Moscow says Georgia should sign the legally binding agreement.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.