AFTER CONVERSATION WITH HIS GEORGIAN ANALOGUE, DUMA SPEAKER GRYZLOV RETAINS STANCE ON SOUTH OSSETIA

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MOSCOW/TBILISI, August 5 (RIA Novosti) - After a conversation with his Georgian analogue, the State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov sticks to his old position regarding yesterday's incident in South Ossetia - the shooting at a peacekeeper motorcade carrying Andrei Kokoshin, chairman of the Duma CIS committee.

The State Duma staff said that no new facts to allow Gryzlov change his position on yesterday's incident were cited.

"The position of the Duma speaker on this incident remains the same", the source said.

On Thursday Burdzhanadze told reporters that during the telephone conversation she had put Gryzlov in the know about the situation surrounding the Tskhinvali region and her vision of the problem. "I reported our arguments to the speaker of the State Duma and he treated them with understanding", Burdzhanadze said. The attack on the car carrying Kokoshin "was indubitably a provocation to suit the foes of peace and tranquillity in the Tskhinvali region".

"Certain political forces in Russia are conscientiously straining the situation", Burdzhanadze said.

Commenting on the Wednesday shooting of the motorcade in South Ossetia, Kokoshin said: "Such incidents are impermissible". "The Russian side will not allow escalation of the conflict on the part of Georgia", the Duma speaker said. He recalled that almost 90 percent of the population of South Ossetia are Russians (following the well-known events in the early 1990s, South Ossetians have been en masse naturalised as Russian citizens, seeing this as a protection against future attempts by Tbilisi by force to return the mutinous province under its jurisdiction). "We'll see that no harm comes to them", Kokoshin stressed.

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