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OSCE Extends Georgian Monitoring Mandate


Europe's largest security organization has agreed to extend the mandate in Georgia of 20 unarmed military observers monitoring a Russian-Georgian cease-fire in place since August.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Thursday said the mission, limited to areas adjacent to the breakaway territory of South Ossetia, will remain in place until June 30.

The OSCE first deployed observers there in August, following a five-day Russian-Georgian military conflict.

The decision does not affect the full OSCE mission in Georgia that must be out of the country later this month after Russia blocked its extension.

Separately, a British parliamentary report on Georgia says Russia's August invasion was a disproportionate response to Georgian provocations in South Ossetia.

It also says Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili drew "unfounded confidence" in confronting Russia after "mixed signals" from the administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Russia says it invaded after the Georgian military attempted to regain control of the pro-Russian breakaway territory by force.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, former parliament speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, a former Saakashvili ally, has again called for early presidential elections. Her call came at a meeting Thursday with OSCE officials.

Burdzhanadze in November accused Mr. Saakashvili of mishandling the August war. She said authorities in "any civilized nation who led their country to disaster" would resign.

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

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