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Breakaway S. Ossetian Leader Meets Patriarch of Serbia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 15
Anatoly Bibilov, a self-proclaimed president of Georgia’s Russian-backed breakaway South Ossetia, met the Patriarch of Serbian Orthodox Church, Irinej.

The press service of Bibilov’s “administration” reports that the meeting took place at the Serbian Patriarchate on January 13.

During the meeting Bibilov underlined that Orthodox Church plays an important role in the de facto Republic, adding “the priority role of Orthodoxy is defined in the Constitution of South Ossetia.”

At the end of the meeting the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Serbs wished Anatoly Bibilov and all the people of occupied South Ossetia peace and prosperity, emphasizing the importance of Orthodox unity.

Georgian Patriarchate says they are studying the issue, in order to find out the details of the meeting.

Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze stated that the communication is underway between the Georgian Orthodox Church and Serbian Patriarchate in order to get information over the issue.

Anatoly Bibilov visited Republika Srpska on January 8-13. He arrived there from Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia and prior that he also visited Ukraine’s separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, where he brought gifts to Russia-backed militants.

In Republika Srpska, which is one of two constitutional and legal entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bibilov was welcomed by the nationalist leader, President Milorad Dodik.

In the de facto capital and administrative center Banja Luka Bibilov and his so called delegation attended the festivities of the disputed Republic Day on January 9 and later signed agreements with local authorities.

Georgia’s ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Irakli Koplatadze, says that official Sarajevo was informed about the meeting, adding they express concern over Bibilov’s visit and reiterate support to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders.