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Russia Sends Envoy To Georgia Amid South Ossetia Row

22 September 2005 -- Russia has dispatched an envoy to Tbilisi in a bid to defuse tension between Georgia and its separatist republic of South Ossetia.

Ambassador Valerii Kenyaykin, who is also Russia's representative at the four-party commission mandated to monitor the 1992 Georgian-South Ossetian cease-fire, was expected to meet with officials from both sides.

Addressing reporters upon his arrival in Tbilisi, Kenyaykin said he was confident of a solution.

"Tonight I will be in South Ossetia," Kenyaykin said. "I will talk with [South Ossetia's peace negotiator] Boris Chochiev. I believe the statements that have been made recently have been strongly misinterpreted."

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity yesterday said his government would suspend its participation in the peace commission until Georgia apologizes over an armed incident that left at least seven civilians wounded in Tskhinvali the day before.

Georgia today suggested the separatist leadership may be behind a second incident, in which mortar shells hit two ethnic Georgian villages of South Ossetia overnight.

Also today, Georgia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it again accuses Russia of arming South Ossetia.

(Civil Georgia/Imedi TV/ITAR-TASS)