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US Envoy Urges Russia to Withdraw Troops from Georgia, Moldova


A senior U.S. diplomat has called on Moscow to stop supporting separatists in breakaway regions of Moldova and Georgia.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns spoke Monday in Brussels, at a meeting of foreign ministers from the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation. He warned that Russian support for separatist movements in the two ex-Soviet states will ensure continued instability.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the U.S. calls, saying the O.S.C.E. must avoid efforts to impose what he called "politicized solutions" to disputes in the former Soviet states.

Lavrov also called for the O.S.C.E. to shift its focus to the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

Conflicts in the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Moldova's Trans-Dniester province are high on the agenda of the two-day meeting.

The ministers are also set to assess Kazakhstan's candidacy for the 2009 chairmanship of the O.S.C.E, which is backed by Russia and opposed by the United States and Britain over human rights concerns.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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