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Georgia Wants UN Security Council to Discuss Air Raid
/ 8 Aug.'07 / 18:54
Civil Georgia

Tbilisi wants an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the August 6 air strike on Georgia, Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said on August 8.

Speaking at a news conference in Tbilisi, he said Georgia’s mission at the UN had already undertaken measures in this respect.

“We also want the UN Security Council to get back to a discussion of the March 11 attack on upper Kodori Gorge,” Bezhuashvili said.

Georgia claims a Russian attack aircraft, an SU-24 Fencer, violated Georgia’s airspace and dropped a guided missile near breakaway South Ossetia on August 6.

Bezhuashvili said Tbilisi’s claims have been backed by a report of a joint fact-finding team on the ground involving the Georgian, Russian and Ossetian sides and OSCE observers.

“They have actually confirmed the fact that the jet really came from the north [the Russian border is to the north],” Bezhuashvili told journalists. “The text will be available for you and you will see that even the Russian experts involved in this group have confirmed it.”

The report itself is still not available.

He said that the report was “extremely important, because it supports our claims.” On the other hand, he added, it was important because the group itself “is an international one which was set up under the aegis of the OSCE, and includes representatives from the Russian and the South Ossetian sides.”

Bezhuashvili, however, added the report was “ only half” of what he wanted. “We are also demanding that the OSCE inspect the site where the second missile was dropped.”

A second missile reportedly landed on South Ossetian-controlled territory near Gromi village.

Bezhuashvili said that Georgia had decided after consultations with its “partner countries” to set up an international group of experts which would carry out an additional probe into the incident.

“We invite all our partner countries to send experts – military, aviation or experts in other fields – to this group in order to properly study all the evidence gathered by the Georgian side,” he said. “The establishment of this group means that we are open for a dialogue with everyone who wants to find out the truth.”

Bezhuashvili pointed out that Tbilisi wanted the EU and its individual member countries to be actively involved in this group.

The foreign minister said that he had held a series of telephone conversations with his foreign counterparts in the past two days to discuss the issue.

On August 7 he spoke with his counterparts from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Bulgaria and Spain, as well as with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mathew Bryza and Manuel Lobo Antunes, the first deputy foreign minister of Portugal – the country which holds the EU Presidency.

On August 8, Bezhuashvili spoke with foreign ministers from Poland, Slovakia and Germany, as well as with US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried.

Meantime, he said, Georgia was also continuing consultations with Russia. Bezhuashvili’s deputy, Nikoloz Vashakidze, held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Grigory Karasin, on August 8.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Karasin had condemned the August 6 incident and described it as a provocation aimed at undermining recent positive trends in the relationship between the two countries and an attempt to stir up tensions in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

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