Anatoly Bibilov and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, November 14, 2017. Photo: kremlin.ru
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov in Moscow on November 14 to discuss “the current state of bilateral cooperation,” including “the multifaceted efforts in implementing the Treaty of Alliance and Integration,” the Kremlin reported.
“We are aware of what was happening ten years ago, back in 2008,” Putin told Bibilov before the meeting. “The situation has undoubtedly stabilized since then. Russia is doing a lot to ensure sustainable security, including the military security and border security of South Ossetia.”
In his remarks, Bibilov thanked the Russian President for inviting him to Moscow, which, in the words of the Tskhinvali leader, was “very important for South Ossetia.”
“I think the state of our relations is at a fairly high level,” he also noted, adding that “in terms of the political component, the intergovernmental component, we already have concluded about a hundred agreements, a number of additional agreements are in the making, which will contribute to the advancement of integration processes and the [further] development of our economic relations.”
At a joint press statement after the meeting, Putin said Tskhinvali was “an important partner and ally of Russia,” and that Moscow would continue assisting the region’s “socio-economic development.” “Our talks today were mostly devoted to trade and investment issues, as well as cooperation in the social sector.”
In the words of the Russian President, they also spoke on regional security matters, with the two agreeing “to more closely coordinate steps in confronting challenges and threats to security in the South Caucasus, and to continue robust cooperation in fighting against terrorism and organized crime.”
Following the meeting, Russian Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova and her Tskhinvali “counterpart” Giorgi Totchiev signed an agreement extending Russia’s compulsory medical insurance program to Russian citizens living in South Ossetia. A similar agreement was concluded with Sokhumi on August 8, during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Abkhazia.