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Detentions condemned in South Ossetia

ATHENS, Greece, April 21 (UPI) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe head Tuesday called the detention of monitors in Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region unacceptable.

Authorities in South Ossetia detained two OSCE military monitoring officers Tuesday morning south of the recognized administrative boundary near the village of Nikozi. Officials said the Hungarian and Turkish nationals, working as part of 20 officials under the OSCE mission, have since been released.

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Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, OSCE chairperson-in-office, said Tuesday that she was relieved that the unarmed OSCE monitors had been released but that their detention was unacceptable. Bakoyannis said the move only served to escalate tensions in the volatile breakaway South Ossetia region where a conflict erupted in August between Georgia and Russia, the OSCE reported.

"It is crucial that all parties act constructively to contribute to security," Bakoyannis said in a statement.

"This includes respecting the mandate, work and diplomatic immunity of the OSCE's military monitoring officers. This latest incident underlines, once more, the importance of defining the framework that will allow the unhindered monitoring of the August conflict zone."

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