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).

South Ossetia Foreign Minister Kazbulat Tskhovrebov Interview to Interfax News Agency

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- Mr. Tskhovrebov, what are the primary goals set for the Foreign Department?

- According to the Constitution of the Republic of South Ossetia, the foreign policy of the state is defined by the President. Our priority is development of foreign policy general strategy for the next months and submission of relevant proposals to the President. The Head of state visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July, 10. He emphasized the importance of diplomatic service, noted the role of foreign policy department in strengthening South Ossetia statehood and set the main objectives for the ministry. It is execution of these tasks defined by the President the function of the ministry. Together with the department officers we will do our best to justify the President expectations.

We defined focus areas of the ministry work and already have plans for improving the quality of the department service. I can say about the intention to expand and change qualitatively the consular service. Heads of divisions were given assignments to deliver offers on structures optimization. Several personnel decisions were made and we would notice of competition soon.

Right now we think over creating an advisory council affiliated with the ministry. The format isn't defined yet, but the point is we would like to give opportunity to competent persons to express opinion on current foreign policy issues. I’m sure such council would be of great use.

- Why is the signed Treaty on Alliance and Integration important for South Ossetia in your opinion?

- The Russian Federation has been supporting the Republic of South Ossetia in establishing international relations since 2008. Moreover, it helps to represent interests of our Republic in third states by means of diplomatic missions of the Russian Federation.

There is no secret that military activity of NATO in Transcaucasia in general, and plans for opening a NATO training center in Georgia in particular, threaten stability in the region and can have serious consequences. Therefore we have to face the arising challenges together. Strengthening cooperation with the Russian Federation, the main strategic partner of the Republic, is a logical course necessary for developing closer collaboration in social, economic and humanitarian spheres as well in questions of foreign policy, defense and security in compliance with international law, legislation of Russia and RSO. According to the treaty a joint defense and security area would be created in response to any actions threatening peace and stability in the region.

- When will the interdepartmental agreements between the corresponding agencies of South Ossetia and Russia be signed? What work is conducted in this direction, do you meet the specified timing?

- This treaty is a framework contract. Now the parties have to develop and conclude bilateral agreements in definite spheres of cooperation. Both South Ossetia and the Russian Federation have already passed the ratification procedures and would soon exchange ratifications. This means the treaty is entering into force and the 6-month term established under the document (when the parties are obliged to develop and agree the relevant agreements) starts. I would like to emphasize that expert work on the majority of focus areas has already started and there are even draft projects in sphere of retirement insurance for example. Participation in developing draft agreements and exercising control over their execution is another task of the department.

The existing practice of our relationship shows that we always find common ground and mutual understanding with Russian colleagues. Therefore there are all reasons to expect that the forthcoming work on projects would be completed in the specified time frames.

- Kazbulat Inalovich, could you please speak in detail about the development of relations with other states, the EU? Can we expect any facts of recognition of South Ossetia by other countries soon?

- The act of recognition is a unilateral act of a state based on a desire to establish diplomatic relations with the recognized state. For this reason our main task is to create an attractive, democratic, economically developed state with strong society. Without any doubt, the issue of recognition is connected with political alignment of forces over the world and the “rules of the game” imposed by one countries over others. South Ossetia suffers it fully, but despite the activity of Georgia, the USA and the European Union against the process of South Ossetia recognition, a work on establishing diplomatic communications with governments of a number of countries is conducted constantly. For external reasons I would neither name the countries which we conduct dialogue with, nor specify the level of the available contacts.

Though it is too early to speak about the possibility of fundamental changes as well as mass recognition of our state, certain practices and contacts are available for us so that we hope for gaining success in this important sphere of activity. Unfortunately, opportunities of the Republic in general and the ministry, in particular, are often not so great. It is the Russian Federation the state that gives us full support. I can't promise recognitions will follow soon, but I guarantee the ministry will do its level best. It is a difficult process, but we are optimistic.

-South Ossetia Parliament criticized the work of foreign policy department in the objectives gaining. Were there any omissions in the activity of the ministry in your opinion?

- Taking into consideration the fact that I was the First Deputy Minister, it would be fair to assume a share of criticism on myself and not only on the previous Minister David Sanakoev. Omissions and mistakes are inherent in work of any department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs isn't an exception. However statements about a complete failure of foreign policy tasks completion are, to put it mildly, exaggerated.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia has been defending interests of the state and the people on diplomatic front since the beginning of its activity, making significant contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the region, promoting in every possible way further strengthening of the state independence.

We confirm readiness for cooperation with the Parliament and are in continuous contact with the Committee on foreign policy and parliamentary contacts.

- You are a member of South Ossetia delegation on the Geneva International Discussions. How do you assess this format of negotiations? How effective it is?

- The Geneva International Discussions is an international format which purpose is achieving guarantees of safety for South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well as discussion and solution of some humanitarian issues. Today it is the only platform for Ossetians, Abkhazians and Georgians to exchange their visions of a situation in the region.

We have to say that Georgian representatives show unwillingness and unavailability to discuss signing of the agreement on non-use of force against the Republic of South Ossetia. For several years we have been working over the writing of a joint statement on a commitment of all participants of the discussions to principals of peace. However we couldn’t arrive at final results even on this area of collaboration.

The efficiency of regularly hold meetings upon IPRM should be noted. Usefulness of this mechanism is always emphasized by all participants of discussions.

Despite the difficulties South Ossetia delegation faces in Geneva, the discussions remain relevant until we see firm guarantees of security and make people of South Ossetia sure that the notorious August, 2008 would never repeat. In any case such platform is a necessity for conducting a dialogue.

- South Ossetia has recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. What practical work is conducted with these republics?

- June, 18 and 27, 2014 saw Presidential Decrees under which LPR and DPR are recognized correspondingly.

In pursuance of the President decrees “About recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic” and “About recognition of the Lugansk People’s Republic” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RSO contacted foreign policy departments of both republics. Diplomatic missions of South Ossetia were opened in LPR and DPR, and an opening ceremony of diplomatic missions of the states took place in Tskhinval.

Work conducted by the missions would promote strengthening of friendly ties between our states and establishing bilateral relations in humanitarian, economic and other spheres for the benefit of the nations with similar historical destinies.

We are ready for fruitful cooperation on friendly and equal basis using the available potential.

- The Western world has still been supporting restoration of territorial integrity of Georgia. Russia and South Ossetia have still been accused and border questions have still been arising. In your opinion, have we managed to get the truth about South Ossetia across to representatives of western countries for the seven years that passed from recognition of South Ossetia independence by Russia? Is such work conducted by your department?

-Negative rhetoric concerning Russia and South Ossetia has still been sounded by many western officials. Often it is dictated by the political situation. I assure the majority of these persons is well informed about the real situation, and some of them even are sympathetic to our country.

We should admit that unfortunately we are losing the infowar the western countries are waging against Russia and its allies (indisputably, South Ossetia is a partner of the Russian Federation). Nevertheless, there is a lot of reliable data about the Georgian aggression and current situation in the region provided by truly independent mass media in information space of the USA and European countries. A significant contribution in sharing accurate information is made by members of our diasporas and compatriots living abroad.

We often become witnesses of obvious provocations organized by Georgian party about the Republic border currently. They are aimed at destabilizing situation and escalating tensions in the border zone. The ministry assesses adequately and gives corresponding response to such statements and comments.

South Ossetia repeatedly has declared of readiness to interact with international organizations not as a part of Georgia as they try to hold us out in western countries, but as an independent state. To mould their own objective opinion based on their impressions, but not on a data obtained from Georgia, we invite representatives of international organizations to visit South Ossetia. The only condition is to enter the Republic from Russian side.