Russia, South Ossetia to strengthen economic, defense co-op


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday said his country would develop economic and defense cooperation with Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. 

“I think that this first short visit by a Russian president will create a foundation for contacts and friendly relations,” the Interfax news agency quoted Medvedev as saying during his visit to South Ossetia.

He said Russia is prepared to provide South Ossetia a range of projects for economic and social reconstruction, adding that it is particularly necessary for the two sides to “maintain cooperation in the defense sphere.”

Eduard Kokoity, leader of South Ossetia, said in return that “the South Ossetian people are grateful to you for support.”

Georgia and Russia fought a five-day war last August, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to retake the rebel region which borders Russia. In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the conflict ended.

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