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Russia Asks OSCE To Mediate Georgia-Ossetia Tension

Vienna, 14 July 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Russia has demanded that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) do more to end the tension in the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia.

At a closed meeting of the OSCE in Vienna earlier this week, Russian delegation leader Boris Timokhov said the situation was taking on an increasingly dangerous character and sharply criticized the Georgian authorities.

He said they had embarked on a course aimed at exacerbating the situation and provoked the South Ossetian side into taking measures of its own. He said Russia demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Georgian military units from the conflict zone.

The U.S. delegate, Paul Jones, said Washington was deeply concerned at the situation.

The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, called on all sides to work together with OSCE mediators to negotiate a return to nonviolent relations.

South Ossetia has had de facto independence from Georgia since 1992. But Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to bring it under central government control.