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Georgia sends troops to South Ossetia's border

Georgia is moving troops to South Ossetia's borders, a duty officer at the headquarters of the mixed peacekeeping forces deployed in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, has told RIA Novosti.

"The situation remains tense as Georgia is moving up troops to South Ossetia's borders," said the officer. He reported on a skirmish in the area of Etonarasheni, though no one was wounded or killed.

The situation surrounding South Ossetia is continuing to deteriorate. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili made a tough statement the other day all but disavowing the decisions adopted at the Mixed Control Commission (MCC) meeting in Moscow on July 15. Mr Saakashvili said Georgia was not going to remove its military posts or withdraw interior troops from the conflict zone.

The president went further by saying he was prepared to denounce the agreements with South Ossetia. "If the relevant agreements signed under Shevardnadze do not allow the Georgian flag to be raised in the Tskhinvali region, I am prepared to withdraw from and denounce those agreements," Mr Saakashvili said, while addressing the first meeting of the Supreme Council of the Adzharian autonomy in Batumi.

"The Georgian government is seeking, above all, to break free of the current frameworks. However, the new ones may turn out to be worse, and it can fall into an abyss," Sergei Markedonov, head of the international affairs department of the Political and Military Analysis Institute, said in an exclusive RIA Novosti interview. The expert believes Russia should demand that the achieved agreements be observed.

"Saakashvili oversimplifies the situation. Unlike the crisis of power in Adzharia, the conflict in South Ossetia is an ethnically coloured one," according to Sergei Kazyonnov, head of the geopolitics department at the Russian Academy's of Sciences Institute of Global Economics and International Relations. Mr Kazyonnov believes the Georgian president is a "radical-minded politician", the like of which have led revolutions or coups, but is not patient enough to analyse the situation.

"Co-operation in whatever form between South Ossetia and the Georgian authorities is hampered by the tragedy of the early 1990s, which is still fresh in people's memories," says Valery Kadokhov, a member of the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, representing the Republic of North Ossetia - Alania. "It will not be forgotten until the current Georgian government condemns the policies of genocide against Ossetians. However, the Georgian government is not thinking about denouncing the policies pursued by Presidents Gamsakhurdia and Shevardnadze who denied peoples the right to self-determination, besieged peaceful towns, and massacred civilians."

Besides, young South Ossetians do not see Georgia as their country. The results of surveys cited at a conference in The Hague show that Ossetians within the 20-29-age bracket do not want to live within Georgia, according to Sergei Markedonov.

Moreover, according to the expert, Mr Saakashvili has no concept whatsoever for the absorption of South Ossetia, as he will find it difficult "to make Ossetians love Gamsakhurdia, Shevardnadze, and the 1991 revolution in Georgia".

According to Mr Markedonov, "the most important thing is to prevent the first blood from being spilt, because if it is, there will be another military conflict and Tbilisi's forces will still not be able to solve anything." The expert believes that the only way to settle the situation is for Tbilisi to calmly explain to people that Georgians and Ossetians have common interests and show them what they are.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team