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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Cautiously Greets South Ossetia Plan

Moscow gave guarded approval Thursday to Tbilisi's plan to grant broad autonomy to the separatist region of South Ossetia, where violence flared between Georgian, Russian and local peacekeepers last year.

The Foreign Ministry said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's proposal seeks to turn Georgia into a prosperous and well-managed state and to avoid violence. "We can't but welcome the fact that the road toward this goal, in his view, includes a guarantee of civil rights for all Georgia's citizens, with those who suffered in bloody internal conflicts at the forefront," it said in a statement.

Saakashvili has moved to liberalize the economy and stamp out corruption since coming to power a year ago, and wants to gain control over South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia.

Under the plan he unveiled Wednesday, South Ossetia would remain part of Georgia but could elect a government with Tbilisi's blessing for the first time.

South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity, who wants full independence, has rejected the plan.

Meanwhile, Georgia's UN ambassador, Revaz Adamia, accused Moscow on Wednesday of excluding it from Security Council deliberations on the peace process between Tbilisi and Abkhazia. Adamia said council members discussed efforts to resolve the crisis over Abkhazia's future status behind closed doors, refusing -- at Russia's insistence -- to let him address them.