The Russian government has approved a draft agreement on a joint military base in the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia, the Russian Cabinet published on its website on Friday.
The draft agreement will now be sent to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to sign.
According to the website, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed the draft agreement on March 9. A similar draft agreement was signed with another former Georgian republic, Abkhazia, on February 17 in the Kremlin when Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh was in Moscow.
The document would allow Russia's Armed Forces to use a base "together with the Abkhaz Armed Forces to protect the sovereignty and security of the republic, including against international terrorist groups."
The agreement is for a 49-year term and can automatically be prolonged at 15-year intervals.
Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in early August 2008 over Georgia's two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia recognized the two republics' independence shortly after ceasefire.
MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti)