Georgian Foreign Ministry said Russia “tries to annex” breakaway South Ossetia through so called treaty on “alliance and integration” which Moscow plans to sign with Tskhinvali early next year.
The move will come few months after Moscow signed treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” with Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia in late November. The draft agreement with South Ossetia envisages much deeper integration of the region with Russia than the one signed between Moscow and Sokhumi last month.
Draft treaty with South Ossetia, if signed in its current form, will formalize merger of the breakaway region’s many key structures with those of the Russian Federation.
According to the draft treaty defense, security, law enforcement and cust0ms agencies of the breakaway region should become part of relevant ministries and agencies of the Russian Federation. Border crossing point at Roki tunnel, which links the breakaway region with Russia, will be removed, according to the draft.
Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide in charge of overseeing Moscow’s relations with breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, was in Tskhinvali where he met breakaway region’s leader Leonid Tibilov on December 22.
Surkov said, according to reports from Tskhinvali, that working on the new treaty will be completed before the end of January, 2015.
“Of course now it isn’t the best of times for Russia – sanctions and oil price fluctuations contribute to it, but we assure you that we are ready for further cooperation and increase of financing will continue,” Surkov was quoted by Tskhinvali-based news agency, RES, as saying at a meeting with Tibilov on December 22.
“South Ossetia and Russia will continue to deepen integration process,” Tibilov said.
In a statement on December 22 the Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the planned treaty between Moscow and Tskhinvali represents “continuation of Russia’s aggression” against and “occupation” of Georgian territories.
It said that any form of integration of Georgia’s breakaway regions with Russia represents act of “aggression, occupation and de facto annexation.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has called on the international community to assess appropriately Russia’s intention and to exert “pressure” on Moscow to prevent signing of this treaty.
It also said that “unanimous international support will be decisive” for putting an end to Russia’s “continued military aggression, occupation and eventual annexation” of Georgia’s breakaway regions.
Commenting on planned new treaty with Russia, breakaway South Ossetia’s leader, Leonid Tibilov, said on December 10 that he has offered Moscow to consider region’s deeper integration into Russia, including possible full accession of South Ossetia into the Russian Federation.
Calls for joining Russia were frequently heard from Tskhinvali before the August, 2008 war; the issue was emerging time after time since then. Anatoly Bibilov, whose United Ossetia party won majority of seats in breakaway South Ossetian parliament in June, and who was elected as speaker of the legislative body, was running a pre-election campaign on the promise of holding a referendum on joining the Russian Federation, but no such vote has yet been scheduled in the breakaway region.