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No Overnight Fighting Reported in South Ossetia

20 August 2004 -- For the first time in a week, no fighting was reported overnight in Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia.

Georgia's army chief of staff, General Givi Iukuridze, told the Tbilisi-based Rustavi-2 television station that the night was "quiet." South Ossetia's Interior Ministry confirmed there had been no gun fighting.

Authorities in Tskhinvali also confirmed Georgian troops were pulling out from the positions they had occupied yesterday north of the city after battling South Ossetian forces for three hours.

Troops are to be relocated in Gori, a Georgian city located some 25 kilometers southwest of Tskhinvali.

Georgian Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili said that, if need be, his troops could be back into South Ossetia "within 15 minutes."

Tbilisi has agreed to transfer the positions taken yesterday to a joint force of Russian, Ossetian, and Georgian peacekeepers.

(Rustavi-2/Novosti-Gruziya/Civil Georgia)