South Ossetia’s president dismisses government, declares emergency

August 18th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 18 (DPA) The president of Georgia’s pro-Russian separatist region of South Ossetia dismissed his government Monday and proclaimed a state of emergency, days after Georgia and Russia signed a six-point European Union (EU)-mediated peace plan aimed at defusing the crisis in the Caucasus. “I have signed three decrees, including one on the resignation of the government, another on proclamation of a state of emergency in South Ossetia and the third on setting up an emergency committee to settle the consequences of the Georgian aggression,” Eduard Kokoity told Russia’s Vesti-24 television.

The minister claimed his government was too slow in distributing humanitarian aid to the residents of South Ossetia, Russia’s Echo Moskvy radio reported.

The South Ossetia capital, Tskhinvali, as well as surrounding villages were ravaged in a Georgian attack Aug 8 and an ensuing counterattack by Russia.

Tens of thousands of residents fled last week over the border to neighbouring Russia.

On Sunday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the EU-brokered peace deal, a day after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili did so.

Russia pledged to start pulling out combat troops from Georgia Monday despite calls from the United States and Germany for an immediate withdrawal.

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