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Russia Wants to Study How OSCE Acted on the Ground Before War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Nov.'08 / 11:56

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow wanted to know what OSCE observers on the ground in the South Ossetian conflict zone were reporting just before the war erupted in August.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart, Alexander Stubb, who holds OSCE’s rotating chairmanship, Lavrov said that Moscow wants OSCE Permanent Council to study the issue in the light of “continued information leaks in the media sources.”

The New York Time reported last week citing OSCE military observers, that contrary to Tbilisi’s claims, Georgian villages were not shelled late on August 7, prior to Tskhinvali shelling by the Georgian forces. And a former representative of OSCE mission in Georgia, Ryan Grist, told the BBC he had warned of Georgia's military activity before its move into South Ossetia. He said it was an “absolute failure,” reports were not passed on by bosses.

“We are interested in finding out the truth,” Lavrov said. “Russia is not indifferent about who knew what and when about the attack on South Ossetia. OSCE has neither mandate, nor capability to stop war, but OSCE and its observers are part of mechanism of monitoring over observance of agreements. We are interested to know what [OSCE] observers saw and what and to whom they were reporting about it. We are not willing to blame anyone, but taking into consideration continued information leaks in the media sources, we have raised the issue at Vienna in frames of the OSCE Permanent Council.”

OSCE Mission in Georgia said in a brief statement on November 9 that it “will not comment on statements of its former members made in an individual capacity.”

Alexander Stubb said that OSCE could only use diplomatic means, which he said, had failed. “Diplomacy failed, and it was unfortunate,” he said.

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