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27 Aug, 2008 09:26

Russia ‘yes’ to more international observers in conflict zone

Russia will not object to more international observers being sent to guarantee peace and security in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the comments at the summit of the Shanghai Co-

Lavrov explained that the decision is due to the fact that Moscow wants to prevent any further military provocations from Tbilisi. Previously, both the South Ossetian and Abkhazian sides had said they only wanted Russian peacekeepers and observers on their territories.

Moscow insists it is keen to co-operate with the international community on the issue of the two breakaway republics.

The Russian president Dmitry Medvedev is in the capital Dushanbe to participate in the talks.

The summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will help reinforce its role in the international arena, according to Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon.

The forum was created seven years ago, when Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan agreed to enforce stability in the Central Asian region.
Energy, transportation, security in the SCO zone and the fight against terrorism and drugs trafficking are the focus of the summit’s agenda, according to a source in the Kremlin.

There will be round-table talks between the leaders, and broader meetings between delegations after which a number of documents are expected to be agreed upon and signed.

The Russian president is expected to hold several bilateral meetings with the leaders of the SCO member states as well as of the states which have observer status in the organisation – India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan.
The chair of the SCO summit is a rotational one and the following year it will pass to Russia.

Meanwhile, the question of what stance the Asian states will take on the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia could also feature in the talks.