Russia approves Georgia observers: OSCE head

August 19th, 2008 - 7:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Aug 19 (DPA) Russia Tuesday gave its approval to the immediate deployment of 20 military observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to its conflict zone with Georgia, the OSCE chairman said.After all-night negotiations at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna, Russia gave its approval to the deployment of the observers, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, whose country holds the OSCE rotating presidency, told journalists here.

Fifty-five of the OSCE’s 56 members have approved the mission, and Stubb said he was “carefully optimistic” that unanimity would follow in time to allow the observers to fly to Georgia.

“We’re still waiting for a green light from Tbilisi, and we’re hoping to get it as soon as possible. The Georgians have been extremely constructive,” he said.

According to the OSCE’s compromise, the observers would be mandated to monitor military activities “adjacent to” Georgia’s breakaway territory of South Ossetia, where fighting between Georgian and Russian forces broke out Aug 7.

They would be in addition to nine OSCE military observers who have already been mandated to monitor the peace process in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia but who were forced to leave the region when fighting flared up between Georgian and Russian forces.

Stubb said that he wants to send up to 80 more observers to Georgia in the coming days to clarify the current “conflicting information” on the status of the ceasefire.

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