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Georgia: Preliminary Agreement Reached On South Ossetia

By Goulnara Pataridze

Moscow, 7 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Preliminary agreement has been reached on the political status of Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region. The agreement follows two days of talks in Moscow. The talks included representatives from Tbilisi and from the region and representatives of Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia's Republic of North Ossetia.

Russia's First Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov, the chief Russian mediator, says the protocol signed by the two sides envisions that Georgia's territorial integrity will be preserved, while South Ossetia will be granted unspecified "special powers for self-determination."

The two have also set up a joint "special commission," that will deal with the region's economic reconstruction. Our Tbilisi correspondent reports a final agreement on South Ossetia's political status is expected to be signed at another round of talks, probably next month.