Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Head of EU inquiry mission meets Abkhaz leader

Abkhazia hopes that the EU inquiry mission looking into the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in August last year, will study the viewpoints of all participants in the August events and make a fair assessment.

"Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not attack anyone, so we, most of all, are interested in a fair assessment of the events that took place in August," Abkhaz president Sergey Bagapsh said at a meeting with the head of the EU mission, [Swiss diplomat] Heidi Tagliavini, in Sukhumi on Monday [2 March].

He said the EU mission would be provided with everything necessary for it to do its job.
Bagapsh said that prior to Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia, the Abkhaz side had on numerous times warned international organizations and foreign diplomats about its [Georgia's] preparations for war.

"Further evidence of Tbilisi's aggressive plans was Georgia's refusal to sign an agreement on the non-use of force and, ahead of the armed conflict, the fact that it used unmanned drones to perform reconnaissance. Nevertheless, our appeals were ignored by international organizations mediating the settlement of Georgian-Abkhaz relations," Bagapsh said.

He said that "given the dangerous situation that has taken shape, Abkhazia had to ask Russia to increase its military contingent".

For her part, Tagliavini said that the main goal of the international mission was to work with the sides to establish facts that caused the conflict situation in the South Caucasus.
She added that members of the international mission had already visited Moscow and Tbilisi and hoped to visit Tskhinvali this week "in order to introduce experts who will be working there". "We will also present our questions to all the sides," the head of the enquiry mission said.
"We should present our report to the European Union by the end of July and we hope that all sides will help us and cooperate with us," Tagliavini said.

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