Iran offers 'any help' in South Ossetia crisis

Iran, watching conflict in the Caucasus unfold virtually on its doorstep, said Saturday it was "ready to offer any help" to end the crisis in South Ossetia.

"The Islamic republic voices concern over the military conflicts in South Ossetia that have led to the killing of defenceless people and calls for an immediate halt to the clashes," foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi said.

"Iran is ready to offer any help ... under its principal policies of contributing to the establishment of peace and stability in the region," added Ghashghavi, quoted by the Iranian student news agency ISNA.

"A worsening of the crisis could affect the whole region with its negative consequences," he said, urging the two sides to negotiate.

Iran borders on two of Georgia's neighbours in the Caucasus - Armenia and Azerbaijan - and historically maintains a close geopolitical interest in the volatile region.

Its capital Tehran lies 880 kilometres (550 miles), as the crow flies, from Georgia's capital Tbilisi - about the same distance as Paris and Berlin.

[Source: Agence France Presse, Tehran, 09Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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