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EU Extends Georgia Cease-Fire Monitoring Mission

EU foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton (center) speaks with members of the EU monitoring mission near the Georgia-South Ossetia border zone in Tserovani earlier this month.
The European Union has said that its mandate to monitor the cease-fire that ended the 2008 Georgia-Russia war had been extended by a year to September 2011.

Since the end of the war, Russia has blocked the extension of monitoring missions from other international bodies, leaving the EU observers as the only international presence on the ground.

The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia said in a statement that the EU Council of Ministers had adopted a decision extending the mandate on July 26.

The mission, one of the EU's largest foreign security missions, has 225 civilian observers patrolling along the borders of Georgia's rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were at the heart of the 2008 conflict.

The EUMM's mission is to make sure that all sides in the conflict live up to the terms of the cease-fire they agreed -- under EU mediation -- in September 2008.

Georgian officials welcomed the extension, saying the mission is key to preventing further violence.

compiled from agency reports