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17 Sep, 2008 15:18

Moscow vows to bring security to the Caucasus

Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have sealed a friendship agreement at a historic signing ceremony in the Kremlin. It follows Russia's recent decision to recognise the independence of the two Caucasus countries. Presid

Russia has promised to secure stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The agreement signed by the three presidents at the Kremlin allows Russian troops and military bases to be stationed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

To witness the historical signing please follow the link.

Dmitry Medvedev said the deal was “a historic event, towards which all of us were moving”.   

“People of these republics gained this signing  – literally – through suffering. The agreements reached are a logical consequence of the chain of events that were developing in the region since the beginning of the 1990s. And of course it is a continuation of those efforts, of those actions, which Russia has been taking since August 8 this year,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev has given his full backing to accords on mutual assistance. However, the most important aspect of the agreement deals with military co-operation.  

With the agreement signed, the Russian military now has permission to stay in the region not only as peacekeepers, but as a regular army tasked with providing security.

Many South Ossetians see Russia as a partner who can guarantee them the stability the need to build for the future.

Eduard Kokoity, the country’s leader, said the agreement is important “not only because we've signed a basic political agreement with one of the leading powers of the world, but because this agreement makes a solid basis for guarantees of security for our nations and the whole Caucasian region”.  

He said it’s “for the people of South Ossetia, which, had it not been for the intervention of the Russian Federation, would have been completely destroyed”.

“More than once we've stressed that the creation of our national sovereignty, its growth and push towards international recognition, was dictated by the need to sign up for national freedom, human dignity and the right to life under constant threat from Georgia,” the president added.  

His Abkhazian counterpart, Sergey Bagapsh, said: “We are a small nation but we will try to do our best, taking into account the great responsibility to build a democratic state.”

He added that there would be no place for wars and the rights of minorities would be respected.

“We guarantee this with our life and constitution. What has been built by Abkhazia and Russia throughout the centuries will have its real continuation in our deeds and aspirations,” Bagapsh said.   

It’s expected that the friendship pact will lead to other agreements of an economic nature.

Russia is committed to helping the two new countries to overcome the aftermath of the crisis in the region.