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Russia in favor of separate OSCE missions in Georgia, S.Ossetia


NEW YORK, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is in favor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe running separate missions in Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian envoy to the UN said Friday.

"The Russian Federation is ready to support the extension of the OSCE's fieldwork both in Georgia and in South Ossetia taking into account the new political-legal realities in the region, which would involve the establishment of two separate OSCE missions in Georgia and South Ossetia," Vitaly Churkin told a UN Security Council session.

Churkin said the OSCE mission's mandate in Georgia expired on December 31, 2008, and that the mission started "folding its activity" on January 1.

He also said that South Ossetian authorities were also in favor of establishing two separate missions. "And we understand them taking into account the tragic events of August 2008," he said.

The OSCE has worked in Georgia since 1992, and after its mandate expired, Russia refused to agree to extend the OSCE mission in Georgia in its current form, as, in Moscow's opinion, the mission's directive should not be expanded to the territory of the now independent republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states two weeks after the end of a five-day war with Georgia last August, which began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under central control.

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