Russia's Lavrov: South Ossetia not joining Russia

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's foreign minister says South Ossetia does not want to become part of Russia.

Sergey Lavrov's comments Thursday follow a series of reports of contradictory statements by South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity.

Kokoity was quoted by news agencies as telling a group of foreign policy experts that South Ossetia would join Russia.

But he later retracted those comments in a subsequent interview with Interfax.

Lavrov later said during a visit to Warsaw that "South Ossetia doesn't wish to join up with anyone."

Russia and Georgia fought a short war last month and Russian annexation of Ossetia would infuriate the Georgians.

It would also give the impression that Russia had been seeking to absorb South Ossetia all along.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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