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Georgian Villagers Blockade Road To Ossetian Capital

Dmitry Sanakoyev (file photo) (InterPressNews) July 3, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Residents of Georgian villages in South Ossetia are blockading a road leading to the breakaway region's capital, Tskhinvali, for the second straight day, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reported.

The protesters, who have been camped out on the road leading to Tskhinvali since July 2, are demanding the resumption of irrigation water supplies to their villages.

Separatist authorities in South Ossetia cut the water supplies in early June in retaliation for Georgia's cutting off drinking-water supplies to Tskhinvali.

Tbilisi restored the drinking-water supplies in mid-June but said South Ossetia did not reciprocate.

South Ossetian separatist officials said today that they had resumed the water supplies, but the claim could not be independently confirmed.

Also today, Dmitry Sanakoyev, who heads South Ossetia's pro-Tbilisi provisional administration, called on the European Union to take a more active role in resolving the conflict in the breakaway province.

Sanakoyev made his comments to reporters, including RFE/RL Georgian Service correspondent Nata Imedaishvili, at a conference on the EU Neighborhood Policy for Georgia in the Black Sea town of Batumi.

Sanakoyev said the key to resolving the conflict between Tbilisi and the Moscow-backed separatists in South Ossetia "lies not only in Russia but also in Europe."

The OSCE chairman in office, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, said on July 2 that he was "deeply concerned" about "worrying new developments" in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

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