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South Ossetia Offers To Host Russia's Georgian Bases

18 February 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia's separatist republic of South Ossetia has offered to host the two military bases that Russia currently maintains in Georgia.

The offer came in comments made by the province's foreign minister, Murat Jioyev, in an interview today with Russia's Regnum news agency.

Russia has close ties with South Ossetia, which won de facto independence from Georgia in 1992.

Georgia is demanding the Russian bases be vacated as soon as possible and has refused a Russian offer to turn them into joint antiterrorism centers.

The fate of the bases tops the agenda of the talks Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is having today in Tbilisi with Georgian government officials.