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EU Raises Georgia Airspace Violation with Russia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Jul.'08 / 10:48

Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, expressed his “disapproval” of the incursion by Russian aircraft into Georgian airspace on July 8 and said the EU had already raised the matter with the Russian authorities.

Solana, who spoke on the phone with Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili on July 11, also expressed his “serious concern” about tensions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, his press office reported.

He also called on all parties “to show restraint and make every effort to reduce tensions in the conflict areas” and said the EU would continue “to follow the situation very closely.” Solana also said a solution to the crisis could only be achieved through political dialogue between the parties involved.

Georgia said on July 9 its radar had picked up the four Russian aircraft 80 kilometers deep inside the Russian Federation and had tracked them crossing the Georgian border over the Roki Tunnel (linking South Ossetia with Russia) on July 8. The radar, according to the Georgian Air Force, shows the aircraft remaining in Georgian airspace for about forty minutes, circling around an area north of Tskhinvali, the capital of breakaway South Ossetia, and then flying back to the Russian Federation.

Russia confirmed on July 10 that it had sent several aircraft over South Ossetia “to cool hot heads in Tbilisi” and to prevent, as the Russian Foreign Ministry put it, a planned incursion by Georgian forces into South Ossetia.

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