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Russia Wants To Increase EU Monitors In Georgia


MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia wants to increase the number of European Union observers monitoring a cease-fire between Georgian forces and Russian-backed separatists, a Kremlin official has said.

France, holder of the EU presidency at the moment, brokered the cease-fire in August to end a five day war between Georgia and Russia, sparked by a failed Georgian attempt to retake its breakaway region of South Ossetia.

The European Union then sent 225 unarmed observers, with about 75 support staff, to monitor the cease-fire, which both sides have accused the other of breaking.

"Among the agenda of the Russia-EU summit will be a question of increasing the number of EU observers in the conflict zone," the official said after underlining the Kremlin's desire to see an increase in the number of EU observers. "Military authorities [from both sides] must determine the optimal number of observers."

Russia and the European Union are scheduled to meet on November 14 in the French city of Nice.

Georgia sent troops and tanks to retake South Ossetia, which threw off Tbilisi's rule in 1991-92, after months of skirmishes between Georgian soldiers and rebels.

Russia responded with a powerful counterstrike that drove the Georgian Army out of South Ossetia.
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