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OSCE Says Talks with Russia on Monitors in Georgia at Impasse


Europe's top security organization says talks with Russia on sending more monitors to Georgia have broken down over disagreements about observer access to South Ossetia.

A statement Thursday from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, says talks on expanding its presence in the Georgian breakaway territory are at an impasse. The statement says there is no point in continuing negotiations at this time.

The OSCE deployed 20 monitors near South Ossetia and another breakaway territory, Abkhazia, last month, immediately after Russia's five-day military sweep into Georgian territory. Negotiators in the now-stalled talks were trying to reach a deal on the deployment of 80 more observers.

Despite strong protests from the West, Russia has formally recognized both breakaway territories as independent states.

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told parliament Thursday that Western governments should withdraw their unqualified support for Georgia.

Lavrov repeated his country's position that Georgia started hostilities early last month, when Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered troops into South Ossetia in a push to regain control of the territory.

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