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South Ossetian Leader Calls for Merger of South/North Ossetia

In a 15 September interview with Ekho Moskvy summarized by Interfax and Caucasus Press, South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity argued that "South Ossetia is a part of Russia whether you like it or not."

"It is time to abandon such terms as South and North Ossetia. There is only one Ossetia. The tragedy that took place in Beslan has once again underscored the need for our soonest possible unification," he continued.

Kokoity added that North Ossetian President Aleksandr Dzasokhov should serve as president of the unified Ossetian republic.

Also on 15 September, Kokoity told Interfax that South Ossetian special services have determined that "several hundred international terrorists," including some Arabs, are currently in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.

He said such information serves to substantiate suspicions of a link between Georgia and international terrorism.

(RFE/RL 16.ix.04)

 
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