Source Pravda.Ru

Russian parliamentarian holds meetings in South Ossetia

The chairman of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs and relations with compatriots, Andrei Kokoshin, met in the capital of the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, with its President Eduard Kokoity.

This is said in a statement of the South Ossetian Information and Press Committee.

Earlier today, Mr. Kokoshin met with the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in the zone of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, Maj.-Gen. Svyatoslav Nabzdorov, got familiarized with the activity of the peacekeeping forces and the Joint Control Commission established in line with the Dagomys agreements of June 24, 1992, which put an end to armed hostilities in the region.

Meanwhile, Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania suggested that the Tskhinvali authorities start direct dialogue on the settlement of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict and hold it in an extremely open and frank atmosphere.

"Our task is to prevent the situation from transforming into a large-scale conflict and an armed confrontation. In these conditions we made the decision to meet in Tskhinvali and propose to separatist leaders finding a way out of the situation together," Mr. Zhvania said at a session of the Georgian government on Wednesday.

He said that he is ready to personally hold talks with representatives of the Tskhinvali authorities.

"We suggest full demilitarization of the conflict zone. Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili already raised this issue before the OSCE," said the Georgian Prime Minister.

In his words, Georgian authorities suggest that the OSCE reinforce the contingent of observers from this organization in the conflict zone, first of all, take under their control, or, to be more exact, monitor the strategic Roksky tunnel on the South Ossetian section of the Georgian-Russian border.

"Our task is to preserve peace and by peaceful means restore the integrity of our country, in this case in the Tskhinvali region," Mr. Zhvania said.

By preliminary data, the meeting of Mr. Zhvania and Mr. Kokoity is to take place on August 6 in Tskhinvali. The Georgian Premier will be accompanied by State Security Minister Vano Merabishvili.

It has become known now that a peacekeepers' car with Andrei Kokoshin was fired at in the zone of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.

The Russian parliamentarian said on the phone from site that the car was marked peacekeeping forces. Besides Mr. Kokoshin, a North Ossetian representative and a Georgian representative were inside of the car.

"We are in South Ossetia in the conflict zone, in the zone of the peacekeeping forces' responsibility. Suddenly our car was fired at by unidentified armed people. Thankfully, no one was injured, as submachine gun bursts went on top," Mr. Kokoshin said.

He said that by preliminary data, these were either Georgian police or Georgian Interior Troops representatives who fired.

"Naturally, the South Ossetian side opened return fire," Mr. Kokoshin said.

"We have learnt it from our own experience that illegal armed formations act in the conflict zone," said the head of the Duma committee.

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