Russia Denies Withholding Evidence From UN Probe
July 27, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Georgia has accused Russia of withholding key information from a UN investigation into an attack on Kodori Gorge in March and is calling for the probe to be reopened, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reported.
The Tbilisi-controlled upper Kodori Gorge, located in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, was shelled on March 11 in an attack Georgia blames on Russian helicopters and artillery from separatist-controlled territory.
Implied Russian Involvement
A UN report issued on July 12 suggested, but did not explicitly state, that Russia could have been involved in the attack.
"The Russians withheld some investigative information which was very crucial for a successful investigative report," Georgian UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania said on July 26 after a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council.
Alasania called the attack an "act of war against Georgia."
Speaking to reporters in Tbilisi, Georgian Minister for Conflict Resolution Davit Bakradze called for the investigation to be reopened.
"We demand the investigation be continued, we demand the investigation be finalized, and we demand answers to all the outstanding questions," civil.ge quoted him as saying.
A spokeswoman for Russia's UN mission, Maria Zakharova, said Russia cooperated fully with a UN investigation.
UN Report On Abkhazia Criticized
Georgian officials, meanwhile, have criticized a separate report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.
The report, which was made public on July 23, called on Georgia and Abkhazia to take steps to avoid the resumption of hostilities.
It also called on Georgia to remove a youth camp located near the conflict zone.
Bakradze said the report diverts attention from the lack of dialogue on Abkhazia's final status and a lack of progress on the return of refugees.
Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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