OSCE extends mandate of Georgia monitors

February 12th, 2009 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Feb 12 (RIA Novosti) The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) extended Thursday a mandate for its unarmed military observers in Georgia, the organisation said.
The 56-nation organisation moved to keep 20 monitors in areas adjacent to the disputed region of South Ossetia until June 30. They were dispatched to the region after a brief war in August between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway republic.

The move was supported by both Russia and Georgia. Decisions taken by the group have to be agreed unanimously.

“The Permanent Council decides to extend until June 30, 2009, its decision of August 19, 2008 without prejudice to any further PC decisions on the future OSCE presence,” the OSCE said in a statement.

“The mandate of the OSCE mission to Georgia ended Dec 31, 2008 and is not affected by today’s decision,” the organisation said on its website.

The OSCE mission to Georgia has not been extended over objections from Russia, which insists its mandate should be reviewed as it covers South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia.

Moscow recognised the two regions after the end of last year’s five-day war with Georgia, which began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia in a bid to bring it back under central control. Both republics have had de facto independence since the early 1990s and many residents have had Russian citizenship for many years.

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