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Time for Georgia, S. Ossetia to sign security guarantee document

TBILISI, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - It is time for Georgia and its breakaway South Ossetia region to sign a document on security guarantees, the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Force in the conflict area said Sunday.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia mediated ceasefire agreements after a bloody conflict between the sides, and Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the conflict zone as part of the Joint Peacekeeping Force ever since.

"This document needs to be signed as soon as possible. I hope this will be done in the near future," Marat Kulakhmetov said.

But Kulakhmetov warned the conflicting parties against merely signing a document.

"The Georgian and Ossetian sides can sign any document but it will be just paper, unless it is backed by political actions from the leaders of both sides," he said.

The South Ossetian authorities want to rejoin North Ossetia, although the two regions were separate administrative entities in the Soviet era and were separated further after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

South Ossetia announced earlier this year that it would ask Russia's Constitutional Court to allow it to join the Russian Federation and would present historical documents to back its claim.

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