OSCE green-lights military observers for Georgia (Lead)

August 19th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Aug 19 (DPA) Military observers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will be deployed in Georgia starting this week, after Georgia and Russia reached a compromise and the organisation approved the mission Tuesday.Twenty military monitoring officers “will be deployed immediately to the area adjacent to South Ossetia”, the mandate green-lighted Tuesday by the 56 OSCE member countries said.

In total, the OSCE Permanent Council approved up to 100 observers to be sent to Georgia. Some of the first 20 mission members would travel to Georgia in the next two days, said Aleksi Harkonen, the representative of Finland which currently holds the OSCE chairmanship.

But further modalities have to be worked out and approved by OSCE members before the 80 other monitors can be deployed.

The observer mission was approved after Russia and Georgia overcame their differences over the plan proposed by current OSCE chair Finland.

While Russia initially wanted monitors only after withdrawing from Georgia, Tbilisi objected to the fact that they would only be deployed around, but not in South Ossetia.

The OSCE is already mandated to maintain nine observers in South Ossetia, but they pulled out after fighting broke out Aug 7. They are set to return to their posts once the security situation allows.

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