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Georgian, South Ossetian Negotiators Reach Ceasefire


13 August 2004 -- Negotiators for Georgia, its separatist republic of South Ossetia, and Russia have reached an agreement calling for a cease-fire at midnight local time Friday in South Ossetia.

Giorgi Khaindrava, Georgia's minister for conflict resolution, said the agreement was reached after talks in South Ossetia's main city, Tskhinvali.

Fighting overnight yesterday left at least three Georgians and three South Ossetians wounded. Georgian lawmakers today accused Russia of siding with South Ossetia and said the mandate of its peacekeepers in the region should be reviewed.

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania reportedly came under fire today while traveling to an ethnic Georgian village east of Tskhinvali.

Georgian Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze blamed Russian peacekeepers for failing to enforce security in the area: "This fact alone gives us serious reasons to think carefully and make certain conclusions, especially because everyone -- including the Russian peacekeepers and the [South] Ossetian side -- knew that the prime minister and State Minister Giorgi Khaindrava were in [South Ossetia] and that they were traveling around the region."

Tensions between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali have been mounting for months since Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili vowed to restore control over the breakaway region.

(AP)
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