8 august 2012

Dmitry Medvedev meets with President of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov

"Russia will help, Russia will protect the people of South Ossetia. And I am convinced that with our combined efforts we will be able to resolve not only the difficult geopolitical challenges, but also the specific peaceful tasks which people are crying out for," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Leonid Tibilov: Mr Medvedev, I am pleased to welcome you here to South Ossetia. I am glad to welcome you here at this time, a very special time for South Ossetia.

Four years ago a great enemy force descended on South Ossetia as Georgian military units invaded South Ossetia. In the space of half an hour probably as many bullets and shells fell on South Ossetia and its sleeping people as anybody had ever witnessed. And the casualties were many: hundreds of people died, young defenders of our homeland died, Russian and Ossetian peacekeepers died. And no one knows how many more victims there would have been if the decision had not been taken so quickly to force the aggressors to accept peace. That was your personal decision, so when I said I welcome you here I was not telling the entire truth: all the people of South Ossetia welcome you here and you witnessed this for yourself. Somehow the information got out that Mr Medvedev was coming and people decided to come welcome you themselves. So I would like to join in with those warm sentiments that have existed, do exist and will continue to exist.

We really are glad that we have the mighty Russia on our side, and we will never tire of expressing our gratitude to the highest leadership of the Russian Federation, and to you Mr Medvedev. These are not empty words. When I met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, I assured him that in South Ossetia we are doing everything in our power to raise the standing of South Ossetia in the eyes of Russia, the Russian leadership and the Russian people. I assured the Russian President and I assure you Mr Medvedev that the new leadership of South Ossetia will do everything so that the huge help that is being given to South Ossetia, to raise the standard of living in South Ossetia, is used in the most efficient way, to see this work done through to the end so that the people can feel this assistance that you are providing in their daily lives. Have no doubt of that, we will do this. And what's more, the first steps in this direction are already being taken.

We would like once again to welcome you and hope that the talks we will hold will also enable the relevant programmes and schedules to be worked out, give impetus to the developments that already exist and help us embark on the path of strengthening our independence, our statehood in the name of the people, in the name of all those who gave their lives for today's independent, recognised by you Mr Medvedev, South Ossetia.

On the 26th we will celebrate the day of the recognition of the republic, the executive order which you yourself signed. Thank you very much. Thank you for what you are doing for South Ossetia. Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you for your kind words, Mr Tibilov. I understand that today is a special day for the South Ossetian people, but I must say that this is a special day for our country as well. Four years ago people died in a barbarous attack. Russia had to make a decision to help the people of South Ossetia by repelling the aggressor. This was done in time. We took the decision quickly enough to prevent significantly higher numbers of casualties. And of course this is a special day for me. I had to make a number of difficult military decisions which helped to ultimately restore the balance and, most importantly, brought peace to South Ossetia and its people. These decisions were right and fair, and they will become part of the history of our nations. Today we face other tasks. I already said this during my previous visit to your hospitable republic. And today I am saying this to you, the new leader of the independent Republic of South Ossetia.

What is the most important thing? The most important thing is to establish good living conditions. The necessary funds have recently arrived in the republic, and work has begun, but probably, and this is putting it mildly, not a great deal has been done of what should have been done in this time.

I think that our task for today, our mutual tasks are to just contribute to the restoration of normal life and establish a large number of civil institutions, since the military sphere is in a good enough state. We have established a military base, I signed a law and have issued executive orders. Our military base preserves peace and protects the residents of South Ossetia, it helps the development of this small but independent state. But civic life is not determined by the military sphere alone. Our objective is to use our joint efforts to build as much housing as possible, establish order on the roads and create infrastructure facilities. This does not mean that nothing has been done, but unfortunately, and I'll say it again, we should and could have done more.

I arrived here with my colleagues from the government and the presidential executive office to discuss practical steps for the socio-economic development of the republic. I think that your team, the new team, has made all the efforts and most importantly has the mandate of the people of South Ossetia.

Russia will help and protect the people of South Ossetia. And I am sure that by uniting our efforts we will manage to resolve the complex geopolitical tasks as well as specific peaceful tasks. People who have gathered here on the square today on August 8 are looking forward to that. I must admit it was very pleasant for me to see them all, to see their smiles and receive their kind wishes. And I hope we will talk to them later. And now I suggest we discuss current issues.


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Also, Dmitry Medvedev and Leonid Tibilov held talks in an extended format.