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Monday, October 02, 2006

OSCE steps into Russia-Georgia fray

MOSCOW, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe flew to Moscow Monday in the mid of heightening tensions between Russia and Georgia.

Chairman and Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht made the trip a day after calling on both sides to "abide by the principles of international law, to abstain from provocations, to establish a direct dialogue and to find a quick solution" to the dispute that began last week, the Novosti news agency reported.

Last Wednesday, Georgia arrested four Russian soldiers and charged them with espionage, along with seven Georgians accused of treason.

Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hurled an insult at Georgia, callings its tactics "state terrorism," and said it reminded him of Josef Stalin's notorious henchman Lavrenty Beria, who ran the secret police at the height of the Soviet leader's purges.

Meanwhile, the commander of Russian troops in the South Caucasus said troops at Russia's two military bases in Georgia have been ordered to "shoot to kill" if provoked, Novosti said.

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