OSCE tries to solve Georgian mission impasse
The OSCE has put forward a new proposal on its mission deploying observers in Georgia.
The OSCE has put forward a new proposal on its mission deploying observers in Georgia and hopes to have a reaction from Moscow in the next five weeks, the organisation's new chair said on Thursday.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was forced to start shutting down its mission in Georgia on Jan. 1 after Russia refused to extend the existing mandate because of a dispute over the status of pro-Russian region, South Ossetia.
"The Greek chair has put a proposal forward," Greece's Dora Bakoyannis, the OSCE chair, told a news conference.
"We are waiting to have the first reaction ... it is still at a drafting stage." She said she would be visiting Moscow on Wednesday and the OSCE would spare no effort in making sure the mission could remain in Georgia.
"For the moment we have some first positive reactions," she said. She would not elaborate on the proposal but said it was the OSCE's goal to have decision before Feb. 18, when the mandate for the mission's military monitors expires at midnight.
Moscow wants to split up the international democracy and human rights group's mission in Georgia to reflect Russia's recognition of South Ossetia as an independent state after quashing Georgia's bid to retake separatist territory.
The United States and European allies in the 56-nation OSCE do not recognise the independence of South Ossetia, which was autonomous when Georgia was part of the old Soviet Union.
Although the OSCE mission started shutting down at the beginning of the year, Bakoyannis said mission staff were still at work and the 28 military monitors continue to patrol for now.
Reuters Last Mod: 15 Ocak 2009, 17:39