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    SOUTH OSSETIA DOES NOT WANT TO RETURN TO GEORGIA

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    TBILISI, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - The president of South Ossetia, a former Georgian autonomous republic which proclaimed its independence from Georgia at the beginning of the 1990s, Eduard Kokoity told the local press in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, that he does not plan to begin negotiations with Tbilisi.

    "I have not received any proposals from President Saakashvili and I want to repeat that negotiations will begin only after the genocide against the Ossetian people at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s is recognized and after the events in South Ossetia during those years are politically and legally assessed," Mr. Kokoity said, and the Rustavi-2, a Georgian television company, cited his words.

    "It is improper to draw a parallel between Adzharia and South Ossetia," Mr. Kokoity said. "We have a bitter experience of 1989 and still remember the results of the marches with red or pink roses."

    "We are doing everything possible to prevent destabilization of the situation in the republic, whose integrity and independence we defended at that time," the president noted.

    "The most important thing now is to consolidate society and to hold parliamentary elections, observing all norms of international law. These elections are tremendously important in the recent history of South Ossetia," he remarked.

    Mr. Kokoity again confirmed the invariability of Tskhinvali's policy toward the entry of South Ossetia into the Russian Federation.

    "We have never been so close to integration with Russia as we are now. Nobody will make me and my people deviate from our chosen path," Mr. Kokoity stated.

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