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South Ossetia accuses Georgia of hostage-taking

Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia on Monday accused Georgia of kidnapping four people from the self-proclaimed republic.

"On July 20, at around 11:00 p.m. [20:00 GMT], Georgia took four citizens of the republic of South Ossetia hostage," the separatist region's information and press department said on its web site.

South Ossetia's interior ministry told RIA Novosti that according to preliminary information the four South Ossetian residents had been seized by Georgian security forces in the village of Eredvi, located on the territory of the self-proclaimed republic, and were currently being held in the Georgian town of Gori.

"Georgia asserts that the hostages were taken in response to the detainment by South Ossetia of Georgian citizen Teimuraz Goginashvili, a resident of the village of Nikozi, who is suspected of murdering Ossetians," the department said.

It also said that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was involved in attempts to resolve the issue.

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulting in a bloody conflict that killed hundreds of people. The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region, along with the rebel region of Abkhazia, back under Tbilisi's control.

South Ossetia rejected on Saturday an EU proposal to hold talks in Brussels on its current conflict with Georgia.

The United Nations Security Council was set to hold a closed session on Monday at Georgia's request to discuss an incursion into Georgian airspace by Russian military aircraft, the UN press service said.

Georgia requested the session on July 10, in response to an admission by Russia on the same day that its fighters had flown over the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia two days earlier.

Russia said it had carried out the flights over fears that Georgia could invade the de facto independent republic. Tbilisi called the flights an act of "military aggression," and recalled its ambassador from Moscow.

RIA Novosti


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