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Russia, U.S. Welcome Georgia's South Ossetia Pullback

20 August 2004 -- Russia and the United States have welcomed Georgia's decision to pull back its troops from the separatist republic of South Ossetia.

Russia's ambassador at large Lev Mironov said Moscow is "happy" to see the implementation of earlier demilitarization demands made by the joint commission in charge of monitoring the 1992 Georgian-South Ossetian peace treaty.

Talking to reporters in Tbilisi today, Mironov said Russian, Georgian, and Ossetian peacekeepers were now taking over positions left by Georgia's Interior Ministry troops.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli welcomed Georgia's pullback offer and called on both sides to "build on this proposal to reduce tensions and move the political process forward."

Intense fighting had been going this past week in South Ossetia. At least 12 Georgian soldiers and a number of South Ossetian civilians and militiamen were reported to have been killed.

(Novosti-Gruziya/U.S. State Department)

For the latest news on the tensions in South Ossetia, see RFE/RL's webpage on Ossetia.