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Georgian Foreign Ministry demands disarmament of Tskhinvali militants

TBILISI, October 28 (RIA Novosti, Marina Kvaratskheliya) - Georgia has demanded that the Joint Control Commission (JCC) for the Georgian-South Ossetian Conflict Resolution and peacekeeping forces in the Tskhinvali region disarm and disband illegal militant groups.

"Moreover, the Georgian side insists on demilitarizing the conflict zone as outlined in previously reached agreements," a Georgian Foreign Ministry news release said.

According to the ministry, so-called militant groups of Ossetian volunteers under the direct command of the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed South Ossetian republic have recently been active in the Tskhinvali region.

"Forming new volunteer militant groups, as well as the existence of the defense ministry of South Ossetia, is contradictory to the 1992 Sochi agreements between Georgia and Russia and JCC decisions. Such developments once again prove the inefficiency of the JCC and the passivity of peacekeepers," the ministry said.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, South Ossetia broke away from Georgia along with Abkhazia - another self-proclaimed republic in Georgia - following ethnic and territorial conflicts in the early 1990s. The conflicts were considered frozen when a western-oriented Georgian leader, Mikhail Saakashvili, came to power.

Saakashvili succeeded in regaining the Ajaria autonomy in May 2004. Attempts to regain South Ossetia, which borders on North Ossetia-Alania, a Russian republic, brought Georgia to the brink of war last summer.

Russia has played a proactive role in the conflict settlement, something Georgia has objected to, calling it an attempt at "annexation."

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