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).

Kazbulat Tskhovrebov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Interview to South Ossetia newspaper

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- Kazbulat Inalovich, what can you say about the diplomatic achievements made this year?

- Looking back on the year, one can say that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reached the full range of the objectives that were set. The primary goal for the Ministry is to pursue the foreign policy course determined by the President of the Republic.

South Ossetian foreign policy is a logical extension of the domestic policy. It represents interests of South Ossetia citizens and is aimed at providing and protection of the state sovereignty, creation of favorable external conditions for economic development, strengthening of investment appeal, modernization of the main fields of government activity. In this regard, I would like to stress the importance of the Treaty on Alliance and Integration signed between the Republic of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation on March 18, 2015. The Treaty itself and Agreements it provides for would affect the level of cooperation between Russia and our state in various spheres.

- What goals are primary for the Ministry now?

- There won’t be changes in basic course of South Ossetia foreign policy. This course is aimed at developing cooperation with Russia and at consistent defense of South Ossetia interests that first of all include security about South Ossetia borders, protection of our state, development of economy, improvement of living standards.

Foreign policy departments conduct systemically work on developing relations with those states who have recognized our independence, other states and international organizations.

Much has been done in developing the legal framework of the Ministry’s activity and in improving consular services.

- Under the Decree issued by the Foreign Minister an Expert Council affiliated with the Ministry has been established. What work is conducted within the Council?

- It’s no coincidence that we decided to establish the Council. The fact is that the possibility of establishing expert councils is provided by the Bylaw of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We used this possibility and created a permanent forum. I’m sure a really constructive criticism of the ministry’s activity, if there is any, other vision on solution of the existing problems and issues, different from the authorities’ opinion, would turn out to be useful. The first session of the council took place on November, 19. Within the session “Current foreign policy of the Republic of South Ossetia” the participants spoke about the importance of foreign policy agenda for the Republics’ national interests. Alongside with this they welcomed the initiative of organizing the Expert Council affiliated to the Ministry as a forum where broad range of foreign policy topics and international agenda could be discussed and the mechanism of interaction between the Foreign Ministry of the Republic and expert community would be developed. The Council would continue its work on regular basis.

A report on work of the Council can be seen on our local TV on December, 8 in the upcoming broadcast of Aktualon diplomati (“current diplomacy”).

- Znaur Gassiev, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Ossetia in the Russian Federation, met with Riad Haddad, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Syrian Arab Republic in the Russian Federation, recently. In this regard experts are not unreasonable to start talks on possible recognition of South Ossetia independence by Syria. What’s the likelihood of this scenario and how can South Ossetia-Syria relations change in the coming years?

- Our department constantly carries work on establishing ties with other states. Syria is one of those countries we have been conducting dialogue with not the first year. These are the issues we still have to work out. It would be naïve to expect we would soon reap the rewards of easy victory, but we keep on working and look forward to further cooperation.

On behalf of the Republic of South Ossetia Ambassador Gassiev tendered invitation to Syrian representatives to visit Tskhinval. Currently Syria faces serious problems and we have to wish speedy establishment of peace in the country.

As for the work of South Ossetian Embassy in Russia in general and the work of the Ambassador in particular, we have to mention the large-scale work that has been done in establishing new and developing the existing contacts, if we take into account the fact that diplomatic missions of the majority of countries are accredited in Moscow. Despite his short period of being an Ambassador, Znaur Gassiev has already made a good showing. The Ministry highly appreciates his work.

- How effective is the work of South Ossetian diplomatic missions in the states that recognized the independence of the Republic aimed at strengthening and developing the bilateral relations?

- Currently we have three full diplomatic representations (in the Republic of Abkhazia, the Moldovan Transdniestrian Republic and the Russian Federation). Their activity is regulated by legislation of the two states, corresponding bilateral agreements and international legislation in general and the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations dated 1961 in particular. Diplomatic corps of the Republic in receiving countries are at high level and are aimed to strengthen and develop traditionally friendly ties between our states. In my opinion, our missions use effectively the potential they have.

- International Discussions on Security and Stability in Transcaucasia, an international platform for post-conflict settlement, was organized after the affairs of 2008 according to the agreements achieved between Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy. Diverse opinions were heard about the efficiency of this format. And what do you think about the effectiveness of the Geneva Discussions?

- I strongly believe the format of the Geneva discussions is a really operating format aimed at ensuring security and stability in our region and thus the Geneva dialogue should be continued. The agenda of the discussions was stipulated under Medvedev-Sarkozy’s agreements in 2008. One of the main points is the issue of maintaining security in general and development of a document on non-use of force that can guarantee security not only in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but in whole region in particular. Another important discussion of humanitarian problems.

Thus within the 33rd round of the discussions international mediators assured South Ossetian party that a special independent expert would be invited to investigate the case of South Ossetian citizens missed on territory of Georgia in short time. Indeed, in late October Dusan Ignjatovic, an independent expert on criminal investigations, was invited by OSCE. He has already met with authorities, who are in charge of this case, and relatives of the missing citizens of the Republic. A report containing corresponding recommendations and conclusions is expected to be prepared upon two-month work conducted by the expert.

I suppose progress in solution of these problems can become an important step in establishing trust relations between neighboring states.