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Questions over Gori in UN assessment of S.Ossetia situation

A UN team starts Wednesday a mission to assess the humanitarian situation after the recent conflict over South Ossetia, although it is not clear if affected areas outside the disputed Georgian republic will be visited.

A United Nations statement issued Tuesday said representatives from several key UN humanitarian agencies would spend four days in the region, visiting South Ossetia and Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, as well as Moscow.

The original statement released by the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the mission would "visit South Ossetia and other areas affected by the recent conflict, including Gori, as well as Tbilisi from 17-20 September."

However, a later version was revised to remove the reference to Gori, saying only that the mission would "visit South Ossetia and Tbilisi from 17-20 September."

The two statements were otherwise identical. The press service did not give a reason for the change to the text of document.

The mission was coordinated with the Russian and Georgian authorities, and its findings will feed back into the UN's emergency appeal to aid those affected by the conflict.

"The objective of the mission is to gain first-hand knowledge of the humanitarian and human rights situations and needs on the ground, including the position of those displaced by the conflict and other vulnerable groups," the statement read.

The delegation includes representatives from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Program (WFP), and a representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The statement also said there were plans for "broader fact-finding mission to the region," without giving details.

Georgia's August 8 invasion of South Ossetia and Russia's subsequent five-day operation "to force Georgia to peace" caused major destruction and drove tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. According to Russian figures, almost all the South Ossetians who fled to North Ossetia have returned across the border.

RIA Novosti

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