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OSCE head meets with Georgian leaders

TBILISI, Georgia, March 23 (UPI) -- The tensions in Georgia have prompted calls for a consensus on the continued presence of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the country.

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, OSCE chairperson-in-office, met with government officials in Georgia on Monday to address the current situation in the country following a conflict with Russia in August over the Abkhazia and South Ossetia separatist regions, the OSCE reported.

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Bakoyannis said following meetings with Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri and the country's foreign minister, Grigol Vashadze, that despite the extension of the OSCE monitoring operation in Georgia until the end of June, an extended consensus is needed to achieve long-term stability.

Discussions on stability operations in Georgia are progressing among the OSCE, the European Union and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Bakoyannis said. She said the tense situation on the ground in Georgia along the borders with Abkhazia and South Ossetia requires international attention and an OSCE presence.

"There is no doubt the OSCE's work to promote stability in the region is crucial," Bakoyannis said in a statement.

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"The Greek chairmanship is intensively negotiating in an attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution for a continued OSCE presence in Georgia."

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