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Diplomats Expect Key UN Vote on Monitors in Georgia


Key diplomats on the United Nations Security Council say the council could soon vote on a draft resolution extending the U.N. monitoring mission in Georgia.

U.N. ambassadors from Japan and Russia say there are no major obstacles to a vote by the end of the week.

The mandate for the observer mission in two pro-Russian breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, expires Sunday. Abkhaz separatists say they will only agree to a new mandate if the world body acknowledges Abkhazia's independence.

A separate mandate for European observers is also set to expire next week.

Russia recognized both territories as independent countries last year after invading Georgia in August.

Meanwhile, the Georgian government Wednesday accused Russian forces based in South Ossetia of building fortifications on the Georgian side of the de facto boundary separating the territory from the rest of Georgia.

A short while later, Georgian police said the Russians withdrew.

Moscow says its August 7 invasion was aimed at protecting pro-Russian majorities in both territories from Georgian military aggression. The Tbilisi government denies aggressive actions, saying its military only took action after the Russian invasion.

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


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