Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia hold first meeting since August conflict 2009-04-23 23:41:55   Print

    MOSCOW, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Representatives of Russia, Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia met on Thursday for the first time after the August conflict last year, according to reports reaching here.

    They met in the Georgian village of Ergneti, near the border with South Ossetia, to discuss stabilization of the situation in the region under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    Georgia and South Ossetia have agreed at the talks to open a 24-hour hotline to avoid further conflicts, and to hold regular talks aimed at mutual confidence building and tensions reduction, said Lt. Gen. Sergei Antonov, deputy chief of staff of Russia's Land Forces.

    "It is expected that there will be two meetings a month, and, if necessary and in an emergency situation, the sides will specially agree (the frequency of the meetings). A round-the-clock hotline has been organized. Officials have been appointed for the purpose," the Interfax news agency quoted Antonov, who represented Russia at the meeting, as saying.

    South Ossetia's delegation is led by Merab Chigoyev, presidential deputy plenipotentiary representative for the post-conflict settlement, while Georgia is represented by Shota Utiashvili, head of the Interior Ministry's press department, and the European Union (EU) by Haber Hansjorg, head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

    South Ossetia on Tuesday detained and later freed two OSCE observers whom it accused of illegally crossing the border.

    The OSCE deployed military observers in the region so as to monitor the EU-mediated cease-fire over the August conflict between Russia and Georgia last year.

Editor: Yan
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