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Kokoity Urges Restraint

South Ossetian secessionist leader Eduard Kokoity said on July 2 he had ordered his forces to show ?maximum restraint? and not to respond to Tbilisi?s ?provocative actions.?

?I know it is not easy. But we should show restraint. Georgia wants war. But we do not want it,? Kokoity said at a cabinet meeting, according to the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee.

?We should not yield to a scenario imposed on us by Georgia,? he added.

His comments follow a series of shootouts in the conflict zone in recent days, which left four Georgians and at least two Ossetians injured. One South Ossetian militiaman was killed, according to the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee.

Authorities in Georgia?s other breakaway region, Abkhazia, have pledged to provide support to Tskhinvali in the event of hostilities with Tbilisi.

Teimuraz Mamsurov, leader of Russia?s North Ossetian Republic, has also voiced indirect support for the separatist regime. Interfax news agency quoted him as saying on June 29: ?We won?t be able to stop our people in North Ossetia from going to support the South Ossetians.? 

Officials in Tbilisi, however, said that they remained committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict and blamed the secessionist authorities for escalating tensions.

The Georgian side said it had started massive rehabilitation projects in the region and the resumption of hostilities would be counter-productive to its efforts to showcase its successes to the population of the breakaway region. Tbilisi wants its loyal provisional administration of South Ossetia, led by Dimitri Sanakoev, to take the credit for the rehabilitation projects.

Meanwhile, local Georgians in the conflict zone are continuing a protest rally, involving the blockade of the main road leading to Tskhinvali. They are demanding that Tskhinvali resume irrigation water supply to the Georgian villages of the conflict zone.

The protesters seem prepared for the long haul, erecting tents in the village of Ergneti at the administrative border with the breakaway region on July 2.

?We have not received any answer from Tskhinvali vis-a-vis their intentions [over the water supply],? Dimitri Manjavidze, Georgian Deputy State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues, said on July 2.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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