EU report to blame start of Georgia conflict on Georgia?

This is from the Georgia Times. The paper sounds more pro-Russian than Georgian! It seemed to me at the time that it was clearly Georgia that started the fracas underestimating the Russian reaction and ultimately leading to disaster for Georgia. So far very few countries have recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Nicaragua being one. Appparently the US is helping to rebuild the Georgian Army and there are reports that by 2015 there may be US military bases in Georgia.


Who dreads conclusions of the “mission for truth” in Georgia?
Before Heidi Tagliavini's commission report on the reasons of the conflict in Caucasus last August is made public Hansjörg Haber, head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (see photo) made a very serious statement remarking that the mission has to reckon with Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"I believe we'll have to live with this state of things as Russian presence is a vital factor there", - Haber told journalists in Brussels. According to him in this situation the mission is tasked to work out confidence building mechanisms between the conflicting parties and make the life of civilians easier.
Haber's statement is indirect acknowledgement of the conclusions made by the EU commission that has already been nicknamed "the mission for truth".
EU military observers reinforced their presence in Georgian districts adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to Haber it was necessary in view of the coming publication of the report on the origins of last year's war in Caucasus. Heidi Tagliavini, head of the independent expert commission must promulgate the conclusions next week.
"We will reinforce our patrols ahead of the publication of the report and maintain maximum visibility", - Haber said at a briefing in Brussels. - These are ordinary prophylactic measures in view of the coming promulgation of the investigation results".
Georgia reasonably fears that the report publication will lead to a new turn of instability in the country. The content of the report is kept secret so far. Nonetheless, main conclusions of the investigation have already leaked through to the European media. On Monday Der Spiegel magazine (Germany) with reference to the EU diplomats wrote that the report authors put most of the blame for the start of hostilities in South Ossetia on August 8 2008 on the Georgian leadership and personally on Mikheil Saakashvili - it was he who sanctioned the offensive of the Georgian troops on Tskhinval. But Russia is not innocent either: it is held responsible for "disproportionate reaction" while South Ossetian military units are held liable for shooting onto Georgian villages within the conflict area. The commission came to these conclusions as early as in August - at least then a EU official that took part in the report preparation revealed the document's main conclusions to above mentioned Spiegel.
Georgian authorities were nervous about the Spiegel article. Chairman of parliamentary committee on restoration of Georgia's territorial integrity Shota Malashkhia stated he didn't trust Spiegel's report on Tbilisi's guilt for last year's conflict.

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