Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Georgia keen to secure South Ossetia by force

Tbilisi is determined to disregard international agreements to secure control over South Ossetia (self-proclaimed republic on Georgian territory - Ed.) by force, South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity said in an interview with Russian newspaper Noviye Izvestia, published on Tuesday.

According to Kokoity, the Georgian leadership is speaking about its abidance by peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict "just to say something for the international community."

The South Ossetian leader emphasized that, in his opinion, "Russian peacekeepers must stay in South Ossetia until the conflict is fully settled."

"Nonetheless, we count on our own resources in the first place. We will be able to defend ourselves if we have to. And we are not alone," he remarked.

He recalled that at the top of the crisis many volunteers had come to the republic to help it. "What I want to say is that when during the negotiations their withdrawal was touched upon, we did this. But they will be back if their help is needed," Kokoyty warned.

"By the way, Georgia has not yet fulfilled agreements signed June 2, 2004 and has not withdrawn [its] armed units from the conflict area, though these have nothing to do with the peacekeeping force," he said.

The South Ossetian president refuted accusations of smuggling from Georgia.

"Nobody called it a crime when Burdzhanadze's (Nino Burdzhanadze is the speaker of the Georgian legislature - Ed.) father transferred a large batch of flour through South Ossetia. And when a poor Georgian woman carries a flour pack or a 10-pack of cigarettes, it is a crime, isn't it? They call deliberately blocking Ossetian-populated villages to prevent us from delivering food there a war on smuggling. Isn't it real smuggling when Governor of the Gori District (Georgian district bordering on South Ossetia - Ed.) Mikhail Kareli carries batches of cargo [across the border]? Georgia does not fightsmuggling. What is going on there is a mere fight for property. No matter how many businessmen they might have arrested, no one is behind bars now, all of them have bought back their freedom," Kokoity said.

He confirmed that Georgian representatives had offered him 20 million dollars and a post of Georgian vice president. "But we don't need their money. We do not change our views just as we do not change friends," Kokoity underscored.

The top point of the Georgian-Ossetian crisis came in 1989-1992 when Georgia stripped South Ossetia, then an autonomous Georgian province, of its autonomy status and tried to use force when South Ossetia proclaimed independence. Since 1992 the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict area has been under control of a peacekeeping force and the Mixed Monitoring Commission involving representatives of Georgia, South Ossetia, and the Russian constituent republic of North Ossetia. Since takeover of power in Georgia the conflict has been gradually aggravating.