Interview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of South Ossetia David Sanakoev to Informational Agency ‘Res’

-On 8 August South Ossetia will commemorate the fifth anniversary since the Georgian aggression. Looking back at those days, can you say that the war could have been avoided?

- On 8 August Georgia again penetrated into the territory of South Ossetia. This penetration was the most bloody and destructive in our recent history. I am categorically against the statement that these days we commemorate five years since Georgian aggression. Recent history of Georgian aggression started in 1989. We should not forget about it. This is when ‘Georgia for Georgians’ policy started to be implemented and is being implemented until now despite the repeated changes in the Georgian leadership. This is when started struggle for independence. For independence from Georgia first of all. We do not have a right to forget how they have shot down refugees at Zar road, buried people alive in Georgian village Eredvi, tortured people.…

Question if it was possible to avoid the war should be addressed to the Georgian authorities. All the prerequisites for war were created by Georgia. Georgia ignored the existing at that time negotiation format, discredited the peacekeeping forces that were located here. It was Georgia who attacked peaceful population, this fact is now recognized by the International Community and by may Georgian politics. Therefore it is a question to authorities of Georgia fist of all.

- These days official Tbilisi is making statements that it was Saakashvili who was responsible for the aggression in 2008 and appeals to start everything from the start…?

- Georgian authorities have partly changed but continue to use rhetoric of their predecessors. Comparing rhetoric of Saakashvili in 2003 and rhetoric of current authorities in respect of South Ossetia one can even find the same sentences. They do not even change the wording. Georgia ‘changes’ the approaches but the goal is the same to subdue South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We have no illusions even if they would treat citizens of South Ossetia with respect. We will continue to protect our sovereignty as we did the last 20 years.

The fact is that they did not change their tasks and goals. This can be proved by the International Geneva Discussions where representatives of Russia, South Ossetia, Georgia, EU, UNHCR, UN, OSCE and US meet on equal bases. By the way, Georgian leadership ignores this fact and calls this discussions differently: negotiations between Russia and Georgia, for example. In reality these negotiations are based on Medvedev-Sarkozi agreement, signed five years ago. Where it is clearly stated that Georgia should give guarantees on non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The document clearly states that it was a war of Georgia against South Ossetia, there was no other war. Even though now Tbilisi tries to assure the International Community that it was Georgia who was the victim. It was Georgia who launched aggression against RSO.

- Do you think that there is a perspective for resumption of any type of relations with Georgia?

- Relations with Georgia are only possible if Georgia gives a political and legal assessment to the actions of its Government against people of South Ossetia, gives security guarantees and compensates the damage caused to our Republic, recognizes all the crimes committed against South Ossetia, including policy of state terrorism as a result of which died tens of people and were wounded hundreds. We will be able have an equal dialogue only if the guilty are punished.

- How do you evaluate the results of five year existence as an independent state? The Georgian side often says that with the recognition South Ossetia lost its independence.

- The Georgian side plays off the reality as it would wished. One gets an impression that Georgia lives in a fictional world and ignores the reality. If they were to evaluate the situation adequately they would have seen that South Ossetia is an sovereign state for more than 20 years and the sovereignty belongs to people of South Ossetia that protects it only from Georgia. We are extending our ties with friendly countries as a sovereign state. We have very special relations with Russian Federation that made fateful decision for people of South Ossetia. RF and RSO have many interstate agreements. On the bases of those agreement is carried out state border control and is insured security and protection from Georgia. Interstate ties are also strengthened with other countries that recognized our independence.

- Do you think Georgia will sign a legally binding document on non use of force? If that document is not signed, do you think Georgia may try to solve it ‘territorial issues’ by force again?

- South Ossetia is making every effort for that document to be signed. However, Georgia ignores all the constructive initiatives proposed in the framework of Geneva Discussions. They try to change wording, ignore obvious things. If this kind of agreement is not signed, there is no point in talking about trust building and interstate relations. There are certain standards that should be followed. Verbal statement of the president of Georgia, adoption of unilateral parliamentary resolutions can only be interim steps to signing of a full-fledged bilateral agreement that would guarantee non use of force against South Ossetia. We have witnessed a number of times how Georgia is breaking unilateral statements and its own laws. Guarantees should be given to people of South Ossetia but Georgia should be responsible for those guarantees in front of the International Community.