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Putin Endorses Draft Treaty on ‘Integration’ with Tskhinvali
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Mar.'15 / 17:58

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed an order giving go-ahead to a draft of a “treaty on alliance and integration” with breakaway region of South Ossetia, paving the way for its signature.

The agreement with the term of 25 years will be signed by Putin and breakaway South Ossetia’s leader Leonid Tibilov; the date has yet to be set.

It will come after Moscow signed treaty on “alliance and strategic partnership” with Georgia’s another breakaway region of Abkhazia in late November. Tbilisi condemns the both of the treaties as a step towards annexation of its occupied territories.

After revision of the initial draft of the treaty with Tskhinvali, the final text is now more similar to the one that was signed between Moscow and Sokhumi. It, however, contains clauses, which envisage deeper integration of the breakaway region with Russia than the one signed with breakaway Abkhazia.

According to the draft treaty “separate units of the armed forces and security agencies of the South Ossetian Republic will become part of the armed forces and security agencies of the Russian Federation.”

The draft also envisages “integration” of customs service of the breakaway region with the one of the Russian Federation.

Like in case of Abkhazia, treaty with Tskhinvali envisages setting up of Joint Information-Coordinating Center of law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “coordinating” fight against “organized crime and other grave crimes.”
 
Russia takes commitment to “co-finance” gradual increase of salaries of employees of the state-funded entities in breakaway South Ossetia to the level existing in Russia’s North Caucasus Federal District.

Russia also pledges to increase pensions for those residents of the breakaway region, which hold Russian passports, starting from 2016, according to the draft, which also envisages further easing of granting Russian citizenship to the residents of the breakaway region.

Meanwhile the Georgian Foreign Ministry said it is “extremely concerned” by what the Russian Ministry of Defense said was “large scale” military exercises launched in Russia’s Southern Military District. According to the Russian media reports drills, which will last till April 10, are ongoing at 12 firing ranges with the participation of 2,000 troops, including those stationed in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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