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PACE urges Russia to allow EU monitors into Abkhazia, S.Ossetia

RIA Novosti

05:20 30/09/2009 STRASBOURG, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said on Tuesday that Russia should give EU monitors unrestricted access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia before the end of the year.

"Russia should also lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid to the two regions and let Georgian civilians move freely across the boundary lines," PACE said in a resolution adopted by 80 votes to 36.

Russia recognized the independence of the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia last August after a five-day war with Georgia over the latter, which was attacked by Tbilisi in an attempt to bring it back under central control.

Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help South Ossetia and Abkhazia protect their borders and has built a considerable military presence there since then.

PACE adopted a resolution last fall calling on Russia to retract its recognition of the regions, but Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called the decision irreversible.

PACE said there had been "little tangible progress" in addressing the consequences of the war and claimed that Russia had not complied with most of the key demands placed upon it.

"This underscores Russia's lack of political will to address the consequences of the war in a manner incumbent on a member state of the Council of Europe", the European lawmakers said in the new resolution.

The UN mission's mandate in the region expired on June 16, and Russia vetoed a resolution authorizing a new mandate as it referred to South Ossetia and Abkhazia as part of Georgia.

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