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OSCE Official Hopeful Kazakh Chairmanship Can Help Georgia

Charalambos Christopoulos in Tskhinvali

Charalambos Christopoulos in Tskhinvali

TSKHINVALI, Georgia -- An Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) official says Kazakhstan could play an important role in resolving tensions between Georgia and its breakaway regions when it takes over the OSCE chair in 2010, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Charalambos Christopoulos, the OSCE's special representative on unresolved conflicts, told RFE/RL on December 16 that because Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic it could do a lot toward resolving the standoff between Tbilisi and its separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Christopoulos, who was visiting the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, said Kazakh officials know the region well and have their own contacts in both Russia and Georgia, since they all used to be Soviet republics.

He added that Kazakh politicians are well aware of the "peculiarities" of local attitudes and can therefore contribute positively to resolving the issue.

Kazakhstan takes over the chairmanship of the OSCE from Greece in January.