Thursday, April 2, 2009

Russia urges OSCE monitoring missions in S.Ossetia, Georgia

Russia's envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on Thursday Russia supported a monitoring mission on both sides of the Georgian-South Ossetian border.

"We are proposing establishing two independent groups of observers in the region," Anvar Azimov told a session of the OSCE Standing Council.

He said that the first group of 20 monitors should continue its activities in Georgian territories, adjacent to South Ossetia. The second group, comprising eight monitors, would be deployed in border regions along the former Georgian republic.

"Naturally, the two groups should receive a mandate from both Tbilisi and Tskhinval," Azimov said.

He added that Russia's stance on security issues in South Caucasus was "abundantly clear."
"Maintaining secure stability in the region is impossible without an agreement on the non-use of force, coordination of a security regime along Gerogia's borders with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and an embargo on supplies of offensive weapons to Georgia," the Russian diplomat said.

The OSCE mission had a presence in South Ossetia until Georgia's attack on its former republic in August. The organization stated its desire to reinstate its monitors in South Ossetia after the ensuing five-day Georgia-Russia war, but was denied permission by the South Ossetians, who accused the OSCE of failing to prevent the Georgian attack.

The Georgian offensive on South Ossetia led to a Russian military response to "force Georgia to peace." Two weeks after the end of this operation, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another rebel republic, as independent states. So far, only Nicaragua has followed suit.

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