Presidential elections scheduled in 2006 makes this year “special and crucial for South Ossetia,” President of the unrecognized republic Eduard Kokoity said in his New Year address, which was issued by the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee on January 1.
“It is not difficult to forecast that our enemies will undertake all possible measures to provoke chaos and to destabilize situation in the Republic,” Eduard Kokoity said.
“But I have no doubt that we will be able to successfully pass this test in political maturity and prove supremacy of democratic values in our State,” he added.
Kokoity also said that the 2005 was an important year for South Ossetia. He stressed on importance of celebration of 15-year anniversary of South Ossetia’s de facto independence on September 20, 2005.
“This [celebration] has demonstrated how our statehood has strengthened and how significantly [South Ossetia’s] international reputation has increased,” the South Ossetian leader said.
He emphasized on importance of signing agreement with Russia’s North Ossetian Republic on cooperation over “further strengthening of development of integration processes between the two brotherly Republics.”
Kokoity also noted that an agreement on mutual assistance and cooperation was signed between the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in September, 2005.
The South Ossetian leader said that 2005 was successful in terms of financial and economic development. “Additional financial sources enable us to increase salaries in the budgetary-funded structures by 50% [starting from 2006],” Kokoity said.
He also noted that 2005 was difficult as well in terms of preserving peace in the region. “Although we could prevent large-scale military confrontation, air was filled with smell of gunpowder in 2005,” Kokoity said.
“Military rhetoric and unilateral actions of ‘hawks’ in Tbilisi, which were badly camouflaged under the peaceful initiatives, were deteriorating situation,” he added.
But he said that a positive reaction of all the sides engaged in the negotiating process towards the S.Ossetian leader’s peaceful initiative voiced in December, 2005 triggers hope that the 2006 will be marked by “a positive dynamic” in respect of conflict resolution.