Georgia & Russia Mark Anniversary of War

Georgia and Russia have marked a year since the outbreak of their war amid enduring tensions and international concern over instability in the volatile Caucasus region.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was to make an address to the nation late Friday following a day of ceremonies, including a nationwide minute of silence, to commemorate the victims of the war.

Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region, which was at the heart of the conflict, was also to mark the day with a memorial procession, a moment of silence and a speech by rebel leader Eduard Kokoity, AFP reports.

In its report, Amnesty International said it had found that 30,000 civilians from both sides were still unable to return to their homes.

A total of nearly 200,000 were displaced by the fighting, it said, BBC News reports.

Meanwhile, Sergei Strokan, a columnist for the Russian daily newspaper, Kommersant, told Al Jazeera: "One year after the August war in Georgia, the guns are silent but ... there is a growing war of words both in Russia and in Georgia.

Russian opinion polls are showing that people are in full support of the Russian official position; that it was Georgia which launched the war.

In Georgia, it seems that even opposition leaders still believe in the notion that it was Russia who proved itself as an aggressor.

As a result, there is a lack of understanding of what the plans are for security in the region ... this is the most dangerous situation.

Russian leadership has made itself very clear that it will never deal with President Saakashvili. So, while he is in power , I can hardly imagine that there will be any rapprochement in Russian-Georgian relationship," Strokan said, reports.

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