Russia does not agree to immediate OSCE mission to Georgia

Other News Materials 18 August 2008 23:57 (UTC +04:00)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) failed to green-light a military monitoring mission to Georgia Monday, a Finnish diplomat said, incidating that Russia does not want observers to be deployed immediately, dpa reported.

"We would like the deployment immediately of up to 100 monitors so that we can witness and observe the implementation of the ceasefire," said Ambassador Aleksi Harkonen, the envoy of the Finnish OSCE chairmanship.

Representatives of the organization's 56 member countries met in Vienna Monday to discuss the Finnish proposal for sending additional observers to the crisis region for a minimum of six months.

While Russia wants to settle all modalities ahead of the mission, the OSCE chairmanship is pushing for a rapid deployment, with details to be decided in parallel.

"This is a make or break situation for the OSCE," Harkonen said. If there was no agreement soon, other organizations would step in, "and then there is no role for the OSCE left to play," he added.

Negotiations on the Georgia mission would continue Monday evening, and the OSCE Permanent Council was set to meet again Tuesday, the senior Finnish diplomat said.

The Vienna-based organization currently has 200 staff in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, including eight military observers.