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EU Monitors Want Georgian-South Ossetian Talks Over Detainee

TBILISI -- The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) deployed along the border between the breakaway republic of South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia has called for a meeting to discuss the case of a man detained by Georgian officials, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

Georgian authorities say they arrested Pliyev, a resident of South Ossetia, in Georgia's Gori district on January 4.

South Ossetian officials claim Pliyev was apprehended on the outskirts of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, after being shot and wounded by Georgian special forces.

An EUMM spokesperson said EU monitors have met with Pliyev and cannot confirm that he was wounded.

The Georgian authorities have agreed to the EUMM proposal to hold a meeting, possibly next week, within the framework of the conflict prevention and reaction mechanism established in the fall of 2008.

The South Ossetian side has not responded.

A conflict-prevention meeting scheduled for November 18 did not take place because the South Ossetian side refused to participate.

South Ossetian presidential representative Boris Chochiyev told journalists the South Ossetian side will boycott such meetings until Tbilisi provides clarification of the whereabouts of missing Ossetians.

In his New Year's address, de facto South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity called on Tbilisi to recognize South Ossetia as an independent state. But he ruled out any contact with the present Georgian leadership and instead advocated contacts with "progressive political and social forces" within Georgia.