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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the inclusion of South
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the inclusion of South Ossetia at sessions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) during a speech on Friday to the upper house of parliament.

At the Federation Council session, Lavrov said South Ossetian participation is "particularly important considering that the act of aggression against South Ossetia was launched by [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili soon after the summer OSCE session, at which several countries voiced support for the Georgian president, which may have served to give the Georgian leadership a sense of impunity."

"I am sure that the question can and should be posed to invite representatives from South Ossetia to attend the OSCE session," he said.

Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia in late August after Moscow recognized the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Recognition followed a five-day war with Georgia, which began when Tbilisi attacked South Ossetia on August 8, in a bid to bring it back under central control.

On the work of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council for Europe (PACE) in the region, the minister expressed regret that several of the organization's resolutions "give a biased description of the situation," failing to appreciate Georgia's aggression toward South Ossetia.

On Wednesday, a senior Russian delegate to PACE said the head of the organization, Luis Maria de Puig, would lead a delegation to Moscow on January 18-19 to discuss the conflict in Georgia.

The visit will focus on the repercussions of the Russia-Georgia conflict.

The report of the PACE team that visited Tbilisi "consists of facts from Georgia's side, and has a clearly pro-Georgian character," Leonid Slutsky said. "There was even a suggestion to call Russia's actions an occupation, but the Russian delegation was able to change that wording to military control."

Lavrov echoed Slutsky's comments, saying: "Indeed there are some active people in PACE who want to politicize the structure, but we have an answer to that."


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