Medvedev: No preconditions for S Ossetia to become part of Russia

MOSCOW, Aug 5 (PRIME) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday there were no legal and actual preconditions for the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia to become a part of Russia.

At present, there are neither legal, nor actual preconditions (for South Ossetia to become a part of Russia). And my (previous) rulings on the recognition of the independence (of South Ossetia and another Georgian breakaway republic, Abkhazia) were linked to this, Medvedev said in an interview with Russian television channel Russia Today, the Ekho Moskvy radio station, and Georgian television channel Kanal PIK, RIA Novosti reported.

Medvedev was speaking following a recent statement by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who said that South Ossetia was an independent state, and only its people could decide on its future. Earlier in August, the republics leader Taimuraz Mamsurov said that the people of South Ossetia would support the republic becoming a part of Russia if a referendum was held on the issue.

Russia would not hinder any negotiations between Georgia and its breakaway republic if they are ever held, Medvedev said, expressing his hope that such negotiations would happen.

Speaking about economic and diplomatic relations with Georgia, Medvedev said that they could be resumed if Georgia withdraws its political and territorial claims against Russia, which are complicating the ongoing talks on Russias accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Russian authorities are ready to consider proposals to simplify the visa regime between the countries if they are submitted by Georgian authorities, but not by the countrys President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Speaking about the future, Medvedev said he hoped no more military conflicts between Russia and Georgia would take place, even while Saakashvili continues to be Georgias leader. Commenting on a number of statements by Saakashvili, Medvedev said that Russia had never planned to carry out a war against Georgia in order to overthrow him or to split the country.

Medvedev also criticized a recent resolution by the U.S. Senate urging Russia to withdraw troops from those breakaway republics, reiterating that the military operation implemented by Russia in August 2008 was aimed at stopping Georgias aggression. U.S. authorities allegedly sent Saakashvili signals that convinced him to put his war plans against South Ossetia into action, Medvedev said, adding, however, that the U.S. had not urged him directly.

In August 2008, Russia and Georgia engaged in a brief armed conflict over the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both countries accused each other of being the aggressor. Russia later officially recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetias independence.


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