Russia Tries to Formalize Buffer Zones

Russia said on August 30 it was ready to allow international monitors, including those from EU, to be deployed in a so called "security zone" created by Russia around the two breakaway regions and starching deep inside the Georgia’s undisputed territory.

"Russia is in full compliance with the six-point" ceasefire agreement, the Kremlin said in a press release after a phone conversation between Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, and British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, on August 30.

During the phone conversation, which was held upon the British PM’s initiate, the Kremlin said, the Russian side called for "the dispatch of additional OSCE observers to the security zone and setting up an impartial monitoring of the acts of the Georgian government."

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that the matter was also discussed during a phone conversation between Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on August 30.

"Involvement of EU representatives in the monitoring of fulfillments of commitments on non-resumption of hostilities and provocations in the zones of responsibility around South Ossetia and Abkhazia were discussed," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

These discussions follow after Lavrov said on August 27 that Russia was ready to pull out its troops from the "security zones" if "reliable international control" was established there so as to prevent possible Georgian attacks on Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Remarks and statements of the Russian officials indicate that Moscow might only be willing to allow western observers in the buffer zones, created by the Russian forces, and not inside South Ossetia itself.

[Source: Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 30Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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