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Peacekeepers' HQ demands release of detained N. Ossetians

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The Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone said in a statement Thursday that two North Ossetian peacekeepers detained August 29 by Georgia should be released immediately.
MOSCOW, August 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone said in a statement Thursday that two North Ossetian peacekeepers detained August 29 by Georgia should be released immediately.

On Wednesday, Georgian Interior Ministry officers apprehended three peacekeepers from the joint forces' North Ossetian battalion and two of them are still being held by Georgia.

In the statement, the forces' command demanded "the immediate release of JPF peacekeepers being illegally held by the Georgian Interior Ministry."

The command also said it had not received official notification from Georgia about the time, place and reason for their detention, or under what conditions they are being held. The statement also said their detention was a gross violation of trilateral agreements.

The command called for trilateral monitoring to be held immediately together with representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Earlier, Georgian authorities reported that Interior Ministry officers had detained Tariel Khachirov and Vitaly Valiyev on suspicion of illegally detaining nine Georgians on August 26 and 27.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia following a bloody conflict that left hundreds dead in 1991-1992, peacekeepers have been stationed in the region ever since. They comprise Russian, Georgian and North Ossetian battalions comprising 500 peacekeepers each. North Ossetia is a Russian republic in the North Caucasus.

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