S. Ossetia Talks of Joining Russia

President Dmitry Medvedev and South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity have discussed the possibility of the breakaway republic becoming part of Russia, a senior official in the South Ossetian administration said Friday.

The meeting between Medvedev and Kokoity took place last week.

"The question has been discussed, our president has told us about it, but specific terms were not mentioned," said Irina Gagloyeva, head of South Ossetian State Committee for Information and the Press.

"The issue of joining South Ossetia [to Russia] has always been on our agenda but … no specific political steps have been taken so far," Gagloyeva said.

Tarzan Kokoity, deputy speaker of the South Ossetian parliament, said Friday that South Ossetia had the right to be reunited with North Ossetia, which is part of Russia.

"Now, reunion with North Ossetia … depends on the Russian state," Kokoity said on the press committee's web site. "We hope this will happen in the next two or three years."

Georgian National Security Council spokesman Zura Kachkachishvili on Friday called the proposal to include South Ossetia in Russia "illegal."

A Kremlin spokesman said Friday that there was "no official information" on the talks.

The statements by the South Ossetian officials met with skepticism.

Alexei Makarkin, an analyst with the Center for Political Technologies, said such a move was "impossible for the moment," as Western countries would view it as an annexation.

"If our foreign partners are critical about our decision to recognize Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence, they will not understand this move at all," Makarkin said.

Georgia on Friday announced that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia.

Tajikistan, meanwhile, voiced its support Friday for Russia's decision last week to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

"Our countries are natural strategic partners … [which] envisions … support for each other's actions," Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon said in comments carried on national television. "Of course, this also applies to the group of measures that Russia is taking in the Caucasus."