EU warns Georgia and South Ossetia against raising tensions | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 04.08.2009
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EU warns Georgia and South Ossetia against raising tensions

The European Union has called on George and South Ossetia to grant "unrestricted access" to EU monitors in the region. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the war there, tensions are flaring.

Russian soldiers on the way to Georgia last August

Russian soldiers on the way to Georgia last August

The EU said on Monday that it "noted with concern" the accusations of shelling and other incidents on both sides of the South Ossetian administrative boundary line.

Tensions have escalated in the region as South Ossetia has accused Georgian forces of firing mortars at it over the weekend. One year after the five-day war between Russia and Georgia, Moscow has warned Tbilisi it reserved the right to use force to defend civilians if Georgia continues "provocations" in the Caucasus.

The Georgian interior ministry said late on Monday that three rocket-propelled grenades were fired from South Ossetia at the village of Plavismani on the Georgian side of the boundary. No one was reported hurt.

"The EU urges all sides to refrain from any statement or action that may lead to increased tensions at this particularly sensitive time," said a statement from the current EU president, Sweden.

Georgians hold a rally against Russia in Tbilisi last Sept

Georgians hold a rally against Russia in Tbilisi last Sept

"The EU further calls on all sides to give the EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission) unrestricted access to both sides of the South Ossetian administrative boundary line."

The war between Russia and Georgia erupted last August when an attempt by Georgia to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia met with overwhelming force from Russia. Moscow sent troops and tanks deep into Georgian territory.

After the brief conflict, Russian forces mostly withdrew into South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia. But Tbilisi is incensed that thousands of Russia troops are still stationed in both rebel regions.

The war and continuing tensions have shaken Western confidence in the security of oil and gas routes which run through the volatile region.

jam/Reuters/AFP
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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