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 Mr. David Sanakoev to newspaper ‘South Ossetia’.

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- How do you evaluate last year’s results in terms of development and strengthening foreign policy of South Ossetia?


- Last year our Ministry had a special year. On 28 May Ministry of Foreign Affair of the Republic celebrated the 20th anniversary since its establishment. Those years were complicated, full of different events but the Ministry continued working consistently for the independence overcoming all the difficulties. In 2012 Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued forming and strengthening the positive image of the Republic, contributed to the perception of the Republic of South Ossetia as a sovereign democratic sate with all the attributes of a modern state, and was open for cooperation with other countries.

-You recently had a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov. How do you appraise the results of the meeting and are you sure that foreign policy of South Ossetia will be strengthened with the help of Russia?

- It is true that last year on 9 October I had a meeting with Sergey Victorovich at which he firmly stated that position of the Government of Russian Federation in respect of South Ossetia is unchangeable and that Russia will continue to support and cooperate with the independent sovereign state of South Ossetia and its people. First of all, it is ensuring security on the frontiers and territory of the country, support in solving the socio-economical issues. During the meeting was also underlined the importance of further interaction and cooperation in foreign policy, economy and culture.

- Georgian politicians and experts saw in the response of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin, on the recognition of sovereignty of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a signal for possible re-consideration of this question in favor of Georgia. Although Vladimir Putin clearly and unambiguously underlined a number of times that Russia is not going to change its decision on recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Further to the above, how would you comment the hopes and expectations of Georgia?

- We witnessed last fall the official visit of Leonid Tibilov, RSO President, to Russian Federation and saw the warm reception of the Russian side. We all heard that during the meeting between the Presidents of RF and RSO Vladimir Putin stated unambiguously that Russia intends to continue supporting South Ossetia in strengthening its statehood,that is an official position of Russia. Meeting of Presidents of RF and RSO happened after the change of rule in Georgia that was also to show the world that Russia is not going to review its decision on recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Independence of South Ossetia was determined by people of South Ossetia, recognized by a number of countries and should not be discussed and be a “token money”. Therefore the hopes and dreams of Georgia for changes in Russian and South-Ossetian relations are illusory and groundless.

- How would you comment statements of the representatives of the party ‘Georgian Dream’ that won at the parliamentary elections in Georgia on peaceful resolution of relation with South Ossetia? Whether the peaceful rhetoric of the party representatives express a true striving of the Georgian politicians to improve relations between Georgia and South Ossetia?

- Despite the political changes inside the country, the external policy of Georgia remains the same. The renewed Georgian political leadership has a clear wish to change the format of foreign policy without changing its essence, just to ‘sweeten the pill’, hoping to reach their goals. Although the new Georgian cabinet has different Ministers, the rhetoric remain the same. On one hand they declare that the country will continue the strategic movement towards NATO and the European Union and that will never recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, on the other hand they are sure to normalize relations with Russia. That is a dead end, it is not possible to sit on to chairs and feel comfortable.

- South Ossetia and Russia have special relations that are traditionally brotherly and at the same time have a strategic meaning. Russian and South Ossetia signed more than 50 interstate agreements almost in all spheres. How are those agreements kept and what agreements are in the pipeline?

- One of the priorities of our foreign policy is strengthening of the cooperation with Russian Federation. The dynamics of Russian-South Ossetian relations is quite positive. Currently Russian Federation renders practical help to socio-economic development of South Ossetia, makes a substantial contribution to ensuring security on our territory, assists our state in solving a range of social issues. Since August 2008 around 70 international agreements were signed at different levels between Republic of South Ossetia and Russian Federation. They cover a wide range questions on cooperation at interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental level. In 2012 were signed 6 agreements. In the pipeline are more than 20 agreements including Agreement on double citizenship, Agreement on Russian- South Ossetian state border. People of South Ossetia treasures the warm and friendly relations with people of Russia and highly appreciates the assistance and support rendered by Russia to South Ossetia.

- Besides Russia, South Ossetia was recognized by other influential countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua. However, except for political contacts, relations with those countries do not develop in other directions i.e. sport, culture, economics, tourism. When the bilateral relations with those countries will be more dynamical in the mentioned directions?

- As it is known, recognition of independence of the Republic of South Ossetia by Russian initiated the process of international recognition of South Ossetia’ independence. Besides Russia, independence of South Ossetia was recognized by Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Tuvalu with whom we develop interstate relations. Working over mutual cooperation, development of trade, economic and cultural ties for further developing of partnership between our states is necessary and we are looking into those questions, discuss and find understanding. In the nearest future a tour of state dancing troop ‘Simd’ is planned to Nicaragua. Recently president of RSO signed a Decree on appointment of Tibilov Daniel Izrailovich to be an Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of South Ossetia to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

- In RNO-Alania was recently opened a consular department of the MFA of South Ossetia. What will be the tasks and goals of the opened structural subdivision of the MFA?

- The issue of opening of a South Ossetian Consulate on the territory of Russian Federation and particularly in Vladikavkaz (RNO-Alania) was on the agenda from the day of establishment of interstate relations between South Ossetia and Russia. Obviously, location of the consulate was not incidental, considering that most of the citizens of South Ossetia reside permanently or temporarily in North Ossetia, Government of South Ossetia approached Government of Russia with a request to open a consulate in Vladikavkaz for rendering effective consular services to our citizens. Citizens of South Ossetia that are abroad will soon be able to approach the Consulate for problems related to legalization of documents, notary issues, issuance of temporary documents that identify citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia, allowing to enter (return) the Republic etc.

- What are the foreign policy plans that will be developed in 2013?

- First of all our activities will focus on ensuring for the Republic a well-deserved equal position on the international arena. We will develop as much as possible our contacts with all the countries of the world, strengthen further mutually beneficial cooperation between RSO and Russian Federation, will work on forming favorable external factors for growth of political, economic, cultural and intellectual potential, protection of rights and freedoms of the citizens of South Ossetia, facilitate the process of international recognition of the independence of RSO to guarantee and protect the sovereignty and ensure sustainable socio-economic development of the Republic. Continue creation of a positive image of South Ossetia to change the western stereotype of South Ossetia being a territory occupied by Russia, we will show to the international community that South Ossetia is a viable state that emerged as a result of realization of the right of nations for self-determination.