Russia rejects EU mission in Georgia

Russia has rejected a European Union observer mission in Georgia. It says there are already observers present from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The rejection comes just as French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in Moscow to gain Russian support for the formation of just such a mission. He also wants to reach agreement about the withdrawal of Russian troops from the area and insist on international talks about the future of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Much to Georgia's anger, both regions are recognized by Russia as independent states.

Mr Sarkozy is accompanied by the chairman of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, and EU foreign representative Javier Solana. After talks in Moscow, the trio will travel on to Tbilisi to meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

In The Hague, a hearing has begun at the International Court of Justice about the Russian military action in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia is claiming that Russia has used excessive force against Georgians in both regions. It also says that human rights have been violated and accuses the Russian army of ethnic cleansing.

[Source: Radio Netherlands, Moscow, 08Sep08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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