The settlement of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict is going through tough times, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko told journalists on Tuesday.
"Certain aggravation in the situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone was observed up-till very recently, which forced the mixed control commission for it settlement to devote a major part of its meetings to the questions of normalising the situation", Yakovenko noted.
For this reason, the Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed the sides' initiative to re-establish confidence between the Georgians and the South-Ossetians in 2003, Yakovenko added. "Regrettably, no real progress in this direction was made, which became clear after the meeting of expert groups in the Hague", Yakovenko noted.
He recalled that at the regular meeting of expert groups held in the Hague on October 14-17 upon the OSCE's proposal, the sides for the first time failed to sign the final protocol because of the differences on its contents. "We are not inclined to dramatise this situation - even the negative result is a useful lesson for all the participants in the negotiating process", Yakovenko added.
"The Russian side is ready, as before, to do everything to make progress in the Georgian-Ossetian settlement", Yakovenko said. "But movement along this road is possible only if there is the sides' will to overcome mutual mistrust and find mutually acceptable solutions of the existing problems".
It is important that the sides give up relapses of confrontation, and tightly stick to the accords attained during the talks, the representative of Russia's Foreign Ministry concluded.
South Ossetia is a self-proclaimed republic that was in the past an autonomy within Georgia which the Georgian authorities abolished. South Ossetia has now been making efforts either to achieve recognition of its sovereignty, or to join North Ossetia - a republic making part of the Russian Federation in the North Caucasus where the Ossetians also account for a majority of the population.
Peace-keeping force which includes Russian, Georgian and Ossetian troops is now stationed on the territory of South Ossetia.
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