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28 Feb, 2009 00:02

‘Ossetian war could have been prevented’ – Ambassador to UN

The South Ossetian war could have been prevented last summer, according to Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to the UN.

Speaking Friday at the meeting of the UN Security Council, Churkin said prior to the outbreak of hostilities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (ISCE) had information about the possibility of a conflict, but failed to act on it.

“The OSCE obviously failed its mission as an important instrument of Euro-Atlantic security during the events of last August,” he said, adding that “information possessed by OSCE military observers in the former Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone about preparations for the Georgian armed attack on South Ossetia was not conveyed to the OSCE ruling bodies or member countries.”

Prevention of a new Georgian onslaught against South Ossetia should be the key task of OSCE monitors in Georgia, Churkin said.

For this purpose, the 20 OSCE observers "should watch the developments in Georgian areas bordering South Ossetia’. Churkin also stressed the importance of the OSCE monitoring the withdrawal of Georgia’s armed forces and their military hardware to permanent locations.

Russia is ready to support further field missions of the OSCE in Georgia and South Ossetia – but with accurate accounting of the new regional realities.

“The establishment of two separate OSCE missions, one in Georgia and the other in South Ossetia, would meet these new realities,” Churkin noted.