South Ossetian president denies plan to join Russia

September 11th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 11 (DPA) South Ossetia’s President Edouard Kokoity Thursday denied reports that the separatist region of Georgia hoped to join Russia, news agency Interfax reported.”Obviously, I was misunderstood,” Kokoity said less than an hour after he was quoted by news agencies as saying: “Without doubt, we will become part of Russia.”

But, speaking later, Kokoity said: “We are not going to refuse the independence which has come to us through enormous sacrifice, and South Ossetia is not going to become part of Russia.”

Earlier Thursday, Kokoity reiterated his longstanding position that after Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia’s independence the main goal would be reunification with the ethnically Russian republic of North Ossetia.

Moscow announced this week it would base nearly 4,000 troops in the province indefinitely after winning a war with Georgia over the territory in mid-August.

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