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Swiss call for end to South Ossetia violence

Switzerland has urged both sides in the conflict over Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia to stop their attacks and seek a negotiated solution.

This content was published on August 8, 2008 - 18:39

The foreign ministry said it was concerned about civilian casualties in the region, while the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called for unimpeded access to the conflict zone.

The foreign ministry said that all 29 Swiss expatriates in Georgia were safe and none of them were in South Ossetia - a region bordering southern Russia.

There are also four Swiss military observers and two police experts stationed in Georgia as members of the United Nations mission to the country's other renegade region, Abkhazia.

Fighting broke out between Georgian forces and separatists on Thursday, breaking a ceasefire just hours after the two sides had agreed to talks.

Moscow is backing the separatists who have controlled the autonomous region since the early 1990s.

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