OSCE initiative irks Moscow

The Russian Embassy in Athens yesterday issued a statement expressing its regret at a decision by Greece, who currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to suspend talks regarding the dispatch of a new mission to Georgia. The statement also called for recognition of «the new reality» in the region. The decision to suspend talks about a new mission to Georgia was made to avoid a veto by Moscow on an OSCE proposal for a reduced monitoring presence in Georgia. Reacting yesterday to Moscow’s concerns, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakis said that Greece had made «strenuous efforts to achieve a consensus… on an extremely complex and difficult issue» and expressed hopes that a «mutually acceptable solution is still viable.» On Wednesday, Moscow opposed a revised monitoring proposal by OSCE chairman Greece and insisted that South Ossetia be recognized as a breakaway state.