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Russia seeks 'unbiased' international monitoring in S.Ossetia

Russia's foreign minister urged Thursday the deployment of "unbiased" observers in South Ossetia.
MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister urged Thursday the deployment of "unbiased" observers in South Ossetia.

"The most important thing is to provide unbiased international monitoring of South Ossetia's buffer zone," Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Italian counterpart, Franco Frattini.

Lavrov added that it would also be necessary to make sure that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's regime honored its commitments, including not using force.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko accused Georgia on Wednesday of failing to honor its commitment to withdraw troops under the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace plan.

"Georgian troops should have returned to their positions. Unfortunately, we have not seen that," Nesterenko said. "Instead, we have been witnessing an increase in activity to redeploy and equip Georgian troops."

Frattini announced that the issue of setting up an international peacekeeping mission in South Ossetia would be discussed Friday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Avignon, France.

"The meeting, which will take place tomorrow in Avignon, is very important because it will determine the dates and terms for launching this mission," the Italian top diplomat said.

Vladimir Titov, Russian deputy foreign minister, and U.S. Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle met earlier Thursday to discuss the situation in the Caucasus, including "the deployment within the framework of the OSCE of military observers and policemen to the buffer zone."

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