Russia still refuses to extend OSCE mission in Georgia
He added that Russia has in principle no objection to the presence of OSCE observers in that region, but the two areas should not be lumped together. "Only local situation but not Georgia's" should be taken into consideration on the issue of sending observers to South Ossetia.
Gruschko noted that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are "no longer part of Georgia," and required OSCE to treat the two regions "as countries." He also said that on whether to send observers to South Ossetia, OSCE should directly cooperate with South Ossetian authority.
The two-day eighth Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly concluded on Friday in Vienna, one focus of which is the South Ossetia crisis happened last summer and Russia's recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
A day ago, as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis noted at the meeting that OSCE should " take more actions" on Georgia crisis, and proposed that OSCE observers to Georgia should remain in South Ossetia with an extended term till June 2009.
Russia was clearly dissatisfied with this proposal. Russian Ambassador to OSCE Anwar Asimow told reporters here on Friday: "We have not received any relevant (continue to send observers) and concrete proposals as to the function and form of observers."
South Ossetia was a breakaway region of Georgia. Russia, Georgia and South Ossetia have established peacekeeping forces so as to avoid conflict there. On Aug. 7, 2008, Georgian troops marched into South Ossetia and bombed its capital Tskhinvali. Russia then sent troops into this region and declared the independence of South Ossetia at the end of the same month.
Both sides finally agreed to an EU-mediated cease-fire. The OSCE deployed military observers in the region so as to monitor the cease-fire, which was due on Dec. 31, 2008. OSCE announced on Dec. 22, 2008 that OSCE observers would quit Georgia on due time as no consensus on the extension had been met.