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EU speaks for international probe into S.Ossetia events

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The European Union believes it is necessary to hold an international investigation of events in the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the French foreign minister said Saturday.
AVIGNON (France), September 6 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union believes it is necessary to hold an international investigation of events in the Georgian breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the French foreign minister said Saturday.

"We are for an international probe," Bernard Kouchner told a press conference after a two-day informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Avignon, hosted by EU current president France, that focused on EU relations with Russia following the South Ossetia armed conflict.

"We need to know who is responsible for unleashing the conflict," the French minister said.

Kouchner also said the EU will not use sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Georgia. "Sanctions are not our word," he said.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded its operation "to force Georgia to peace." The operation came in response to an attack by Georgian forces on breakaway South Ossetia on August 8.

Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for its "disproportionate" response to Georgia's attack and the recognition of Georgia's breakaway provinces, but Nicaragua also recognized the republics' independence.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Georgia has long sought to bring the breakaway regions back under its control, while accusing Russia of trying to annex the republics.

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