Republic of South Ossetia is located оn the southern slopes of the Main Caucasus Range in the area of 3900 square meters. Тhe capital is the city of Tskhinval.
One-tenth of the surface occupied by the Republic of the foothills.
The rest of the territory - the mountainous terrain height from 850 to 3938 meters above sea level.
The highest point - Mount Halatsa (3938 m).

Interview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia

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- Mr. Sanakoev, taking into consideration the current situation in Ukraine and imposed sanctions, the situation in Russia and its allies can possibly be characterized as extremely intense. Russia is the main strategic partner of South Ossetia. How are security issues and the issues of the borders reinforcement solved, taking into account that by this time the contract on non-use of force with Georgia hasn’t been signed?

- Definitely, the world now is facing a difficult period when a new regime of international relations is being generated. This is going to be a long-lasting process with hardly predictable future. New problems, challenges concerning human security and the humanity development arise annually. Thus Russia should constantly look for contemporary means to ensure stability worldwide.

It is not easy to predict now how long the Ukrainian crisis will last and what consequences it will have. We understand, surely, the crisis can become an additional destabilizing factor for Transcaucasian countries and that’s why are carefully watching the development of the affairs. As for the borders security, the Agreement on joint protection of the borders was signed on April 30, 2009 by the Presidents of South Ossetia and Russia. This agreement was a logical continuation of joint efforts made by our countries in framework of creating a legal base for bilateral relations that were established by signing the Treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Russia and the Republic of South Ossetia on September, 17, 2008. In full compliance with documents, this agreement isn't directed against third states. We are witnesses today how this agreement provides peaceful life in the Republic, promotes its democratic development and guaranties security at its southern borders.

- Agreement on South Ossetian – Russian frontier is going to be signed on February, 18 in Moscow. Could you please speak in detail on it?

- Great job has been carried out to prepare the agreement; each point of the document has been worked out in detail. The delimitation process of Ossetia-Russian boundary has started in 2010 and has resulted today in the present document. This agreement will definitely take an important place among those more than 80 international and interdepartmental agreements and treaties that have already been signed or are being prepared for signing. The agreement on the frontier testifies once again the development of good neighbourlines and equal relations of sovereign states – the Republic of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation. This document emphasizes the full absurdity of statements made by Georgian politicians and their western patrons regards so called “occupation” of South Ossetia”. I would like to stress, we are ready to similar cooperation with our other neighbor - Georgia. Though we’ve repeatedly (including through different international organizations - The European Union, the UN, OSCE) called the Georgian party for collaboration on demarcating the frontier. However Georgian authorities refuse to discuss the borderline delimitation. For this reason, South Ossetia made the decision to carry out works on frontier arrangement with Georgia unilaterally.

- Signing of the Treaty on Alliance and Integration between South Ossetia and Russia has already been discussed for two months. Could you explain what the republic expects of the agreement and when it is planned to be signed?

- The Treaty on Alliance and Integration between South Ossetia and Russia has been sent to the MFA of Russia and is now under consideration of our Russian colleagues. According to the draft agreement integrated defense and security area is going to be created. Alongside with this the agreement will assist in increasing the living standard of South Ossetian people.

There is no secret that the geopolitical situation in the Caucasus in particular and in Eurasia in general depends on the development of the Ossetian- Georgian and Abkhazian- Georgian conflicts. Military activity of NATO in Transcaucasia and particularly the plan to create a NATO training center in Georgia is hazardous for the stability in the region and can have serious consequences. We keep in mind results of military interventions made by the alliance members including to the Middle East that resulted not in the stability for which they had allegedly been made but even in more serious destruction of statehoods and power institutes. For this reason it is necessary for South Ossetia to look for adequate answers in response to any military activity and further approach of military potential of the alliance to the state’s borders.

- You are also a member of South Ossetia mission on the Geneva International Discussions. How can you characterize in general the necessity of this negotiation process, and is there in your opinion any opportunity for signing the agreement on non-use of force with Georgia? How necessary this format of negotiations is for the republic?

- I consider the Geneva Discussions on safety and stability on the Caucasus which are carried out under the auspices of the European Union, OSCE and the UN with participation of representatives from Russia, the USA, Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are necessary and important despite the absence of any definite results. Geneva is the only platform, where the Ossetians, the Abkhazians and the Georgians can sound more or less their positions. Until security is guaranteed and the people of South Ossetia are confident that the events of August, 2008 will not repeat the Geneva Discussions remain relevant. In addition I would like to state the efficiency of weekly meetings organized upon the Mechanism on prevention and reaction on incidents around the Ossetian-Georgian border that was developed in framework of the Geneva Discussions. This mechanism serves for reacting on the aggravation of situation around the Republic of South Ossetia, in order to cut down the risks of new conflicts emerging and spreading. The mechanism provides creating special working groups which have to meet weekly or more often, if it is required, discuss aggravation issues and take adequate measures. It should be noted that these mechanisms are the result of the long lasting negotiations within the Geneva Discussions. In any case, the platform for dialogue is necessary. Even if it is slack and weak it has to be.

- You stated that a delegation from South Ossetia would visit the National Republic of Donetzk and the National Republic of Lugansk at the beginning of 2015 to establish diplomatic relations with the republics. When do you plan to visit these states and how are the relations expected to develop with them?

- We were carefully watching the difficult negotiations taking place in Minsk and were looking forward to see the results that had to finish bloodshed in Ukraine. We welcome the results and hope that the most important achievement of these agreements – cease-fire - will be irreversible. The results of the Minsk negotiations became an influential step towards achieving peace in Donbass. A significant role was played by the Russian diplomacy. The results of the Minsk meeting are important not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole world. Essential points that will help in avoiding victims were agreed on.

We are glad for our partners in Lugansk and Donetsk. The decisions made by the people of these countries are important for us, as we in our turn take them into consideration while making steps to adjust cooperation between our countries. We’ll keep on developing relations with the republics. Huge work should be conducted and first of all by our colleagues engaged in negotiation process and internal problems solution. We’ve already reached certain agreements within developing relations. This process was a little dragged out, but we are waiting for the opportunity to make subsequent steps. I would like to express once again our support and solidarity to long-suffering people of the NRD and the NRL.

- What kind of work is conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon further international recognition of South Ossetia and what difficulties do you face?

- Certainly, a constant work on increasing the number of countries that recognized the independence of the Republic of South Ossetia is conducted by our Ministry. Obviously, it is very difficult for Ossetian diplomats to come off close contact with the leaders of some countries without a significant support and help from the Russian MFA. Such a hard work is conducted in various directions and we surely face challenges. Some of them are posed by the Georgian party and its western partners. For this reason we can’t report on definite results of our work so far. However, we are sure that the process of recognition will proceed.