President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, Mr Kokoity. I am happy to see you again.
August is a month of particular significance for Russia’s relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We just recently commemorated the anniversary of the start of Georgia’s invasion and the military operations that followed. I have already said everything I can on this matter. I would like to take this opportunity here in your presence to say once more that the decisions that Russia took then to protect the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and to protect Russian Federation citizens too, and the subsequent decisions I made to recognise these two new countries were not easy steps to take, and required careful consideration. But the last two years have shown that they were absolutely essential, because it is precisely these decisions that have given these two peoples the chance to develop and not be exterminated in genocide or any conflicts of the kind that had regrettably gone on for the last two decades. Our relations are therefore built upon a very particular foundation – the events of 2008, the events preceding that conflict, and events reaching further back into our long history. And of course, we have the present day too.
The relations that we have today between Russia and South Ossetia are friendly and very close. They are based on several treaties, including the treaty on friendship and the treaty on protection and security, which concerns the presence of Russia’s military base in South Ossetia. These treaties, the huge number of important contacts, ties and agreements that our various agencies have, and the ties between our economic actors, are the base upon which we will continue to build our relations in the future. I want to say very clearly here, so as to leave no doubt in people’s minds that Russia will not go back on what was a difficult but nonetheless right decision.
President of South Ossetia Eduard Kokoity: Thank you, Mr President.
I want to start by expressing my condolences to everyone who has lost relatives and friends in the natural disasters that have hit the Russian Federation. The South Ossetian people’s sympathy is with you. We understand very well, from our experience, just how difficult this is. I also take this opportunity to express my support for everyone in Russia fighting the fires, and I express my admiration for the courage and the efforts organised at present to fight this disaster.
Regarding our relations, of course the people of South Ossetia appreciate greatly that, despite the problems Russia faces right now, the rebuilding efforts underway in our country have not stopped for an instant. It is also particularly valuable that thanks to Russia our people for two years are living a new life, a peaceful life, and have this Russian military base on our soil and Russian border guards who are guaranteeing peace and stability in the region. Of course we realise that this decision you made was far from easy, but it was a destiny-making and historic decision for our people, and on behalf of the people of the Republic of South Ossetia I want to once again express our immense gratitude.
Dmitry Medvedev: I am sure that everything will develop in absolutely normal fashion. We will discuss the reconstruction efforts and how to optimise the existing mechanisms. We will also discuss development of our humanitarian and cultural ties that have always remained strong. I visited South Ossetia almost exactly a year ago, and I hope I will get the chance to see how things have progressed since then. Even then we could already see how much had been rebuilt, despite all of the difficulties. Let’s hope that we will keep making the needed decisions and concentrating our efforts, making use of the possibilities on your side and on Russia’s side too.