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OSCE monitors patrol Georgia/S.Ossetia border

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OSCE monitors patrol Georgia/S.Ossetia border


It is generally peaceful, but tension is rising in villages along the border between South Ossetia and Georgia proper. Russia has said it will accept international observers along the new frontier to monitor relations between Georgia and its breakaway province. Local villagers, however, remain sceptical.

Monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe are patrolling alongside Georgian police, but an often-tense standoff exists between the patrols and South Ossetian militias.
Georgians living nearby have told of drunken Ossetian gangs roaming the countryside, looting and threatening anyone who refused to leave.

Carlo Lichiani has stayed at his small home, despite the dangers. He said: “For the time being, we are OK. The South Ossetians are not doing too much, but who knows what will happen in the future.”

Many front line villages are all-but deserted, their residents having fled the Russian advance, and they now say it is too dangerous to return.

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