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    Russia troubled by halt of OSCE talks on Georgia observers

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    Moscow is concerned by the refusal of certain OSCE members to continue talks on the mission of extra military observers to be deployed in Georgia, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

    VIENNA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is concerned by the refusal of certain OSCE members to continue talks on the mission of extra military observers to be deployed in Georgia, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.

    Finland, which currently holds the rotating OSCE presidency, decided earlier Thursday to halt talks on sending additional observers to the South Caucasus nation over differences with Russia on where to deploy them.

    "A refusal by some of our OSCE partners to continue discussing the work of additional military observers of the OSCE mission in Georgia engenders certain concerns," Andrei Nesterenko said.

    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe earlier planned to send up to 100 additional military observers to Georgia following last month's military conflict there.

    Anvar Azimov, Russia's envoy to the OSCE, said the issue of "the presence of additional OSCE military observers in Georgia has become a bone of contention," adding that the talks had "reached a dead-end."

    He said that Georgia, the United States and the European Union insisted on sending 80 observers to the South Caucasus country implying that South Ossetia is integral part of Georgia and that the observers have access to the republic, which Russia acknowledged independent on August 26.

    "Russia categorically rejects this," Azimov said.

    Russia wants compliance with the decision by the OSCE permanent council on August 19 that the monitors' area of responsibility should cover inner Georgian territories adjacent to South Ossetia but not the republic.

    "All our arguments that South Ossetia is an independent state have been completely rejected," Azimov said.

    The official said there are currently 28 OSCE military observers in Georgia, eight of whom have access to South Ossetia, in accordance with their previous mandate. He said he did not rule out that this mandate would need to be confirmed by South Ossetia.

    He added that Russia is trying to continue the discussions to work out the details of additional observers' presence in Georgia. "Representatives of Belarus and Kyrgyzstan also spoke out during a permanent council meeting on Thursday for continuing such consultations," he said.

    Azimov also called for inviting South Ossetian representatives to OSCE discussions "related to the country."

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