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Fact finding mission back from Abkhazia

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 6
Chair of the EU fact finding mission Heidi Tagliavini and Deputy Chair Uwe Schramm, now back in Tbilisi, briefed journalists about their visit to Abkhazia. Under the terms of the mandate the mission has been granted the diplomats met various senior figures in the regime of the so called ‘independent Abkhazia,’ its de facto President Sergey Baghapsh, de facto Foreign Minister Shamba and others.

The diplomats stated that so far the Abkhaz side has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the EU fact finding mission. This visit was a kind of reconnaissance at which Tagliavini and Schramm met UN representatives as well. The de facto Abkhaz authorities were told the general purpose of the mission, and the diplomats understood that at their next meeting they will receive answers to a set of questions they presented to the Abkhaz authorities. The members of the mission did not reveal what was actually said at the meeting.

Today the mission is visiting Tskhinvali to meet the de facto leaders of South Ossetia and inform them of the purpose, format and mandate of the mission. The mandate of the mission is strictly defined, and involves finding out why the August conflict started, the background to it and what happened during the war itself. Experts will be involved in identifying the facts and Ms. Tagliavini will write the final report. If the questions are not fully answered additional research will be undertaken to fill the gaps.

When asked by The Messenger whether the head of the mission will work jointly with the experts the diplomats said that in some cases this will happen but in other instances experts will gather and evaluate evidence and submit their results to the Chair. It was added that so far all sides have expressed their willingness to cooperate with the mission, which has itself shown the goodwill and cooperative spirit to work transparently and openly, thus setting a good example.