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EU supports OSCE in war-torn Georgia

Jan. 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

VIENNA, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The European Union announced its support for continuing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission in Georgia, despite Russia opposition.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, current council president of the EU, announced Thursday the EU would continue to support the OSCE presence in Georgia, calling the mission critical for security in the region.

The announcement came as leaders in the OSCE continue to butt heads with Russia over its opposition to the OSCE presence in Georgia following the August conflict over the South Ossetia breakaway region. As a result of the Russian opposition, the OSCE mandate in Georgia ended at the beginning of January.

"The EU intends to continue its engagement in Georgia, but this engagement cannot replace the valuable OSCE presence," Schwarzenberg said in a statement. "We see both missions as complementary and mutually reinforcing."

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