Separatist president accuses Russian forces of negligence
By Mary Makharashvili

The Messenger, Georgia
May 2 2005

Eduard Kokoiti visited Moscow on Wednesday, three days after the
death of four Ossetians and one Georgian in South Ossetia. Kokoiti,
the de-facto president of the unrecognized republic, partially blamed
Russian peacekeepers for failing to intervene prior to the gun battle
during his press conference on Wednesday, June 1.

According to his statement, the armed incident was planned in advance.

"I have information that Georgia is getting ready for a fight with us,
though I want you to know that we will not change our position since
we are an independent state," he said.

"A minister of such a high level as Georgia's Minister of Internal
Affairs must know what the situation is," he said. He added that
this was a well prepared provocation against the Ossetian Emergency
Affairs Ministry.

He also stressed that Russian peacekeepers must fulfill the obligations
included in their mandate. He mentioned that the incident was close
to their post and they "had the full right to be involved in this
conflict and to avoid this bloodshed."

"The Georgian policeman should not have been in this area and what
were they doing there?," he added.

Kokoiti reported that he arrived in Moscow to discuss integration
issues, as well as the problems facing Russian citizens residing in
South Ossetia. He noted during his briefing that the majority of the
population in South Ossetia are Russian citizens.

There were no meeting with the Russian leadership scheduled during
his visit. "We are solving economic problems," he said. He stressed
that the meeting was very important for the republics. "We want
to coordinate efforts and support each other in the formation of
states," Kokoiti said. "We want to help each other be free, as the
democrats say."

He added that a summit for the separatist leaders of Transdnestre,
Abkhazia, Karabakh and South Ossetia is planned to be held in a month.

Kokoiti also used the opportunity to declare he supports the withdraw
of Russian military bases from Georgian territory if this will assist
in strengthening the relations between Georgia and Russia.

Earlier this week the president of North Ossetia, Alexander Dzasokhov,
announced he would step down from the post later this year. Calls
for his resignation first came in the aftermath of the Beslan hostage
tragedy. Neither Georgian or South Ossetian officials have commented
on his resignation.