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Greece works to save OSCE Georgia mission

 The new Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis speaks during a ...

Austria OSCE

The new Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis speaks during a ...

Greece said Thursday it will "spare no effort" in trying to overcome Russian resistance and preventing international monitors from leaving Georgia.
Greece took over the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Jan. 1 and now faces the delicate task of brokering a deal that would save the mission, set up after Russia's war with neighboring Georgia last year. The monitoring mission's mandate expired at the end of last year after Russia blocked efforts to prolong it.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking to reporters at the OSCE's Vienna headquarters, said Greece had put forward a draft proposal to break the impasse. She declined to provide more details.
The OSCE mission, made up of about 200 local and foreign staff, includes unarmed military monitors and also works on human rights, economic, environmental and media freedom issues.
"We will spare no effort in keeping our mission there. ... I think everybody agrees that it is needed," Bakoyannis said, adding she would visit Moscow on Wednesday.
Talks on extending the mission collapsed last month when Russia demanded that the 56-nation OSCE join Moscow in recognizing the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations.
Anvar Azimov, Russia's envoy to the OSCE, said the Greek proposal would be addressed in Moscow next week by Bakoyannis and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
"We are in favor of a continued OSCE presence _ but one which recognizes the realities in the region," Azimov told The Associated Press.
Azimov said Moscow was in favor of two separate OSCE missions _ one that would operate out of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and another that would be based in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali.
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