OSCE Observers to Stay for At Least Four Months

56 participating states of OSCE agreed on February 12 to extend presence of 20 unarmed monitors in the areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia until June 30.

OSCE decided on August 19 to "immediately" deploy 20 of its observers in the adjacent areas for the period of at least six months.

"The Permanent Council decides to extend until 30 June 2009, its decision No. 861 of 19 August 2008, without prejudice to any further PC decisions on the future OSCE presence," the OSCE Permanent Council's (PC) decision reads.

"This decision to extend the mandate of the OSCE monitors shows that all States agree that the Organization is a critical part of international efforts to secure lasting stability in the region," Dora Bakoyannis, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Greek Foreign Minister, said on February 12. "I am confident that we can build on this consensus to ensure that the OSCE will be able to continue its important work for all peoples in the region and help to address urgent humanitarian challenges."

The mandate of the OSCE mission in Georgia itself is currently terminated after Russia blocked its extension in December. The Greek OSCE chairmanship is now engaged in efforts to find a compromise solution into the matter. She was expected to visit Georgia this week, but the visit has been postponed.

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi