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S.Ossetian president confirms intention to host Russian base

The South Ossetian president confirmed on Wednesday his intention to allow the Russian military to set up a base in the republic.
TSKHINVALI, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - The South Ossetian president confirmed on Wednesday his intention to allow the Russian military to set up a base in the republic.

"As president, I will turn to the Russian leadership with that request," Eduard Kokoity told journalists.

Speaking about West European nations and the United States, which Georgia has asked to deploy peacekeepers in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone, he said countries that had armed Georgia cannot be peacekeepers, adding that Russian peacekeepers and the Russian 58th army were already in the republic.

Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to regain control over the separatist republic, which split from Tbilisi in the early 1990s. Most people living in South Ossetia have Russian citizenship and Moscow subsequently launched an operation to "force Georgia to accept peace." The operation was concluded on August 12.

Russia's president signed decrees Tuesday recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.

Foreign leaders spoke out Tuesday against Russia's decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while people in the Georgian breakaway regions greeted the news with raucous celebrations.

Kokoity also said the new South Ossetian government, now being formed, would include specialists from Russia.

On August 18, Kokoity dismissed the republic's government and introduced a state of emergency for a month. He sharply criticized the government's work in conditions of a humanitarian catastrophe after hostilities started by Georgia on August 8.

"We invite specialists from the Russian Federation to take a number of posts in the new government. There is nothing unusual in it," the South Ossetian leader said.

He also accused Germany, France, the United States and Ukraine of being involved in genocide against the South Ossetian people. "I want to stress that these countries are involved in South Ossetian people's genocide," Kokoity said.

He said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili should be brought to criminal account.

Kokoity also denied that South Ossetian security forces had been involved in killings of Georgian residents on the republic's territory.

"I deny rumors that Ossetians have carried out mopping-up operations in villages where Georgian people live. We observe the human rights of ethnic minorities, and everyone else's," he said.

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