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Russia Trying to Redirect Focus on Reasons of Drone Downing
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 May.'08 / 14:46

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said it was “senseless” to discuss the April 20 incident, involving downing of the Georgian drone, at the UN Security Council without participation of the Abkhaz side.

“The fact that they [the Abkhaz side] has been refused to participate in this discussion indicates that there is something dirty in this initiative,” RIA Novosti and Itar-Tass news agencies reported quoting Lavrov as saying on May 30.

“Essence of the crisis is that the Georgian side is roughly violating its commitments. It [the April 20 incident] was not the single case; seven drones have been shot down and even more were overflying the conflict zone, which in accordance to the UN Security Council decision should not be the zone for military actions,” Lavrov said.

Probe into the April 20 incident conducted by the UN observers said the Georgian drone over Abkhazia was shot down by a fighter jet belonging to the Russian air force. It, however, also said that it considered “a reconnaissance mission by a military aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, constituted ‘military action’ and therefore contravened the Moscow Agreement [on ceasefire and separation of forces].”

Russia picked up on this line in the report and said, what it called “root cause” of the incident should at first be investigated and addressed. Russia also said that evidence based on which the UN probe made its conclusions – the Georgia air radar data and video footage – were fabricated.

“This [root cause] should be at first dealt; disease itself should be cured and not its symptoms,” Lavrov said.

Irakli Alasania, Georgia’s UN envoy, said on May 29 that Tbilisi did not consider overflights of the unmanned, unarmed reconnaissance drones over the conflict zone as violation of the Moscow agreement, because it was Georgia’s sovereign right to observe and monitor its territory and “illegal movement” of the Abkhaz and Russian forces.

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