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17 August 2017
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Russia may accept more foreign observers in Georgian 'buffer zone'

The foreign minister said on Wednesday

Russia may decide to accept more international military observers in the Georgian `buffer zone` between Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where Russia maintains a peacekeeping presence, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia officially recognized the two breakaway regions as independent countries on Tuesday despite Western warnings, saying the move was needed to protect Abkhazians and South Ossetians from Georgian acts of aggression.

Sergei Lavrov said: "We will insist that safe international controls be established in Georgian areas adjacent to the [Abkhazia and S. Ossetia] territories to prevent the Tbilisi regime from preparing new reckless military attacks."

He said Moscow hopes to establish cooperation between Russian peacekeepers deployed in the buffer zone, and international military observers.

"We are ready to make decisions, including within the OSCE and the UN, to increase the number of international observers, to specify their mandate, and to take other measures, involving international organizations, necessary to thwart new attacks on South Ossetia and Abkhazia," he said.

He also said Russia is willing to discuss timeframes and other aspects of control of the buffer zone.

Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of Russia`s General Staff, said earlier on Wednesday that Russia had no plans to boost its peacekeeping numbers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia now that it has recognized their independence from Georgia.

"We believe the current contingents in both areas are sufficient," he said.

RIA Novosti

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