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The OSCE is not planning to set up an additional commission to investigate into the August 6 “rocket” incident
The OSCE is not planning to set up an additional commission to investigate into the August 6 “rocket” incident, but it is thoroughly studying the facts collected by Georgia and a group of international experts, OSCE special envoy, former Croatian foreign minister Miomir Zuzul said. After his meeting with representatives of Georgia’s Defence Ministry and the State Ministry for Conflict Resolution on Monday, Zuzul told journalists the OSCE “is not planning to crate an additional commission for investigating the August 6 rocket incident, but it is attentively studying the facts collected by Georgia’s side and a group of international experts”. “I’ve got exhaustive information on the investigation of the incident and on the work of international experts. I’m submitting it to the OSCE chairman-in-office,” Zuzul said. Georgian Defence Minister Batu Kutelia said he “gave Zuzul full information on the work of the Georgian investigation group and on the pace of the Russian-Georgian consultations on this issue”. As part of his two-day visit to Georgia Zuzul will hold talks with Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli and Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili. He is also expected to visit the settlement of Tsitelubani where an anti-radar missile was dropped. This week Zuzul is also due to visit Moscow in order to get Russia’s version. The Georgian authorities said they “have specific proof of the violation of Georgia’s airspace by planes that flew from Russia and of an anti-radar rocket being dropped by one of the planes in the Gori district. The group of international experts from Sweden, the United States, Latvia and Lithuania stated that an unidentified plane had entered Georgia’s airspace on August 6 from Russia’s airspace. The experts defined the rocket dropped as Russia’s-made Kh-58 anti-radar rocket and noted that the Georgian air forces did not have planes that carried the Kh-58 rockets. A group of officials from Russia’s foreign and defence ministries arrived in Georgia on Thursday for a discussion on the so-called “rocket incident”, Russian roving ambassador Valery Kenyaikin said. The special envoy for relations with the CIS countries told journalists, “Our Georgian colleagues have offered a plan for the Russian delegation’s work in Tbilisi. We’ve begun working tonight. We hope that we’ ll work based on the facts.” Kenyaikin and other members of the delegation declined to elaborate. They noted, “It would be incorrect to give any comments before the meeting with Georgian representatives.” The Russian delegation includes chief of the General Staff of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Igor Khvorov, special envoy for relations with the CIS countries Valery Kenyaikin, as well as Russian defence and foreign ministry specialists. “The Georgian side will allow the Russian counterparts to study a great number of materials and pieces of evidence concerning the launch of a rocket over the Gori district. We hope that Russian specialists will be able to provide answers to the questions we have about this incident,” Bezhuashvili said. A group of officials from Russia’s foreign and defence ministries arrived in Georgia on August 16 for a discussion on the so-called “rocket incident”, Russian roving ambassador Valery Kenyaikin said. The special envoy for relations with the CIS countries told journalists, “Our Georgian colleagues have offered a plan for the Russian delegation’s work in Tbilisi. We’ve begun working tonight. We hope that we’ ll work based on the facts.” Kenyaikin and other members of the delegation declined to elaborate. They noted, “It would be incorrect to give any comments before the meeting with Georgian representatives.” The Russian delegation includes chief of the General Staff of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Igor Khvorov, special envoy for relations with the CIS countries Valery Kenyaikin, as well as Russian defence and foreign ministry specialists. Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said, “Tbilisi will present to high-ranking Russian military experts materials related to the August 6 ‘rocket incident.’” “The Georgian side will allow the Russian counterparts to study a great number of materials and pieces of evidence concerning the launch of a rocket over the Gori district. We hope that Russian specialists will be able to provide answers to the questions we have about this incident,” Bezhuashvili said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in the wake of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, that Georgia’s actions regarding the rocket of allegedly Russian manufacture found in its territory lay within the space of political propaganda. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the experts would take part in joint work with the Georgian side to investigate the August 6 air incident in the area of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict. The ministry voiced the hope the forthcoming bilateral cooperation will help clear up impartially all circumstances of the incident. The ministry said, “The position of the Russian side has been stated. We are not inclined to engage in excessive public rhetoric and anticipate the outcome of the investigation. We insist that it be carried out promptly and effectively.” “We are ready to cooperate on these issues,” it added. “It was noted that the appearance of a plane and bombing in the conflict zone has a signature suspiciously similar to the March 11 events in the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia,” the ministry said. It stressed that all this “makes it necessary for the two countries to engage in active cooperation in the investigation of the essence and details of the incident”. Last week observers saw an unknown plane enter the conflict area from the west, i.e. from Georgia’s territory, and fire a missile. It exploded about five kilometres away from the radar station in the village of Shavshebi. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili called on European countries to condemn Russia for an alleged missile attack on its territory. Saakashvili visited the wreckage of the missile following claims it was launched from a Russian fighter jet: “It's not just a problem for Georgia. It's a threat to Georgian security, but also a major risk to European security.” But Russia has denied attacking Georgia. The foreign office in Moscow said none of its fighter jets were in the area and that its peacekeepers in South Ossetia did see an unknown plane to fire a missile but that it arrived from over Georgian territory. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in the wake of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, that Georgia’s actions regarding the rocket of allegedly Russian manufacture found in its territory lay within the space of political propaganda.
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