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13 August 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The United States is urging Russia and Georgia to cooperate in ending tension over the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia, where a clash early today resulted in the deaths of at least three Georgian soldiers.
U.S. State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli today said the United States supports Russia's call for an emergency meeting of the so-called Joint Control Commission, which includes representatives of Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia, and North Ossetia.
South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity said he would support a meeting of the commission as a way to resolve the tense situation.
"We are offering the Georgian side to stop the fighting, sit down at the negotiating table in the framework of the Joint Control Commission and set an agenda for upcoming talks between the leaders of Georgia and South Ossetia," he said. "Mediators involved in the work of the Joint Control Commission and international observers should also participate. We must find a solution to the present situation and ease the existing tension."
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to gain control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both republics seceded from Georgian central government control in the early 1990s.