UN Calls on Tbilisi Tskhinvali to Practice Restraint

UNITED NATIONS (Itar-Tass)–The United Nations called on Georgia and South Ossetia to abstain from any moves that could escalate tension and trigger provocations.

UN Secretary General Marie Okabe told Itar-Tass that the UN wants a peace settlement and reduction of tensions in the region.

As for a possible UN peacekeeping role in South Ossetia–Okabe said the international community is involved in peacekeeping operations in Abkhazia and the UN Security Council has not considered the situation outside that region.

Sources at the UN Secretariat said they are closely watching the South Ossetian situation–and are receiving regular reports from the UN Observer Mission in Georgia.

Another source said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has assumed the lead in peacekeeping efforts in South Ossetia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told a news briefing in London on Tuesday that Georgia has no intention of triggering an armed conflict in South Ossetia.

"It is very important for us to create a stable situation in the country to draw major investmen’s into the national economy," Saakashvili told journalists.

"Active steps to settle the South Ossetian conflict will be taken by the Georgian side when such steps will cause minimal negative side effects–and not when some general decides to start a small war in Georgia to satisfy one’s ambitions. At this point Tbilisi’s task should be to support the population of the Tskhinvali district [South Ossetian capital] economically," Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili is in London meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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