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Georgia's Separatist Republics Sign Cooperation Treaty

19 September 2005 -- South Ossetia says it has signed a friendship and cooperation treaty with Abkhazia.

South Ossetia's Foreign Minister Murat Jioyev said the pact was signed in Tskhinvali today by the leaders of both Georgian separatist republics.

Jioyev said that "the treaty encompasses all possible forms of cooperation -- economic, cultural, scientific, and touristic."

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity had said earlier that the pact would not cover military cooperation.

Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh is in Tskhinvali to attend tomorrow's ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of South Ossetia's declaration of independence from Georgia.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to bring both South Ossetia and Abkhazia back into Tbilisi's fold before his mandate expires in 2009.

(Ria Novosti)