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30 Sep, 2008 23:43

Russia declares Saakashvili a criminal

Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili has violated the main values of the Council of Europe as he ignored human rights and the rule of law. That is according to Konstantin Kosachev, Russia's representative at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of

During his address to the council, Kosachev also outlined the history of the conflict between Ossetians and Georgians in the Caucasus and explained Russia's actions in the region.

Despite the trip to the conflict zone, PACE representatives failed to identify who sparked the hostilities in August.

The debates on the conflict in South Ossetia in August will continue in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Russia has been trying to convince the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that its action in the region was necessary.

The head of the Russian delegation believes the parliamentarians will eventually approve of Russia's peace enforcement operation.

“I believe that the assembly will not take any hasty decisions this time. And I believe that when we come back to this discussion later – during the January session – the discussion well be even more balanced and it will finally confirm that Russia had no other choice but to act immediately to protect people’s lives and to protect peace in the region and too enforce this peace,”  said Kosachev.

EU observers replace Russian peacekeepers

EU observers will start monitoring buffer zones between Georgia and newly-recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Wednesday. Russian peacekeepers will leave the area by October 10, as set-out by the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan.

The EU observing mission consists of some 200 people, who will be stationed in the border areas to monitor the ceasefire.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who was on a one-day visit to Georgia, says deploying EU observers in Georgia is an important move.

Javier Solana has reiterated the European Union's support for Georgia's territorial integrity and work to normalise the situation in the country.

He was also there to get acquainted with activities of the EU observers and discuss EU-Georgia cooperation.