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Georgia Declines To Attend Meeting On South Ossetia

30 June 2004 -- A scheduled meeting in Moscow today on South Ossetia was postponed after Georgia refused to attend until three of its military officers are released from custody in the separatist Georgian region.

The two-day session was expected to bring together officials of South Ossetia, Georgia, Russia's region of North Ossetia, and Russia.

A Russian official said the sides have agreed to meet tomorrow.

Georgy Khaindrava, Georgia's state minister for conflicts, told Russian media that Georgia would not take part in the sessions until South Ossetia releases the officers, who were detained on 27 June.

South Ossetia has been de facto independent since a 1992 truce ended a separatist conflict against Georgian forces, but Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili recently pledged to return the region to Georgian control.