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Russia's Medvedev speaks for OSCE larger role in S.Ossetia

RIA Novosti

17/08/2008 13:07 MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev speaks for larger role of Europe's main security and human rights watchdog in the Georgian-South Ossetia conflict zone, the Kremlin press office said on Sunday.

Medvedev held a telephone conversation on Saturday with President of Finland Tarja Halonen. Finland currently holds the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"The heads of state discussed the issues of the OSCE's further work in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict. The Russian president spoke in support of the continuation of the OSCE's mission work and its greater role, and expressed the Russian side's readiness for close interaction," the Kremlin press office said.

Georgia launched a major ground and air offensive to seize control of South Ossetia on August 8, prompting Russia to send in tanks and thousands of troops. Russia says at least 1,600 civilians were killed in the Georgian onslaught and 34,000 Ossetians were forced to cross the Russian border.

The OSCE said Thursday it planned to increase its military monitors in Georgia from the current eight to 100 in the wake of fighting between Russia and Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia.

Heikki Talvitie, Europe's special representative for the South Caucasus, said the OSCE regional mission would then comprise 300 people.

Talvitie said the move was discussed Thursday at a session of the OSCE Permanent Council, the main standing body for consultation and decision-making, and a final decision would be made in the near future.

Meanwhile, Russia's envoy to the OSCE said on Sunday that Russia will seek condemnation of Georgia's aggression against the South Ossetian people at a European court.

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