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Russia, Georgia Reach Conflict Agreement


A European mediator says Russia and Georgia have reached an agreement on how to prevent armed conflict in and around the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

European Union envoy Pierre Morel says the deal is an important first step in developing regional security and stability.

Morel announced the deal Wednesday in Geneva. He did not offer details. But other EU personnel say the agreement includes weekly meetings to discuss incidents that could possibly undermine regional security. Officials also say a hotline may also be established linking the adversaries.

The deal was announced as European and United Nations envoys wrapped up a fourth session of peace talks following last August's Russian-Georgian military conflict.

Last week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe agreed to extend the mandate in Georgia of 20 unarmed military observers monitoring an ongoing cease-fire. Under the extension, monitors will remain in place until June 30.

Russian forces invaded Georgia August 7, after Georgian troops tried to regain control of the pro-Russian territory by force.

Moscow has since recognized South Ossetia and another pro-Russian separatist territory, Abkhazia, as independent countries, over strong protests from the West.

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

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