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What wrong has Germany done to Tbilisi?2009-10-12 09:17
Georgia may get into the center of another international scandal. This time, it was the decent Germany that found itself in embarrassment. The Georgian media are accusing the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier of cooperation with Gazprom.
This week, Germany got involved into the endless confrontation between Moscow and Tbilisi. For the whole week, the Georgian media have been reporting that some "Kremlin agents" bribed by Gazprom have got into the International Committee for Investigating the August war.
The finishing touch was the report about the intention of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier to occupy a high post in Russian state company Gazprom in future.
Thus, Expressnews informed that it was head of the Foreign Policy Department of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier who helped Lukhterhandt, a German expert (who initially stated that it was Georgia who started the war and this week has called upon Europe to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which, in his opinion, will low the tension in the region - I.P.) to lobby Russian interests in the course of the report preparation. In return, the Russian authorities promised him a high post in Gazprom after his resignation, where former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder is already employed.
On October 8, the German Embassy in Georgia disseminated a special statement requiring apologies. The German diplomats referred to the report of the Georgian media as to "speculations" and expressed hope that "in future, the journalists will make no such mistakes".
However, there were neither apologies, nor comments from the official Tbilisi.
It should also be noted that the majority of the Georgian media have turned into the criers of the position occupied by the ruling National Movement. Well, if the newsmen came down hard on the German expert and minister of foreign affairs they must have done it with the silent consent of the high and mighties.
By the way, it was the high-ranking Georgian officials who demanded the resignation of a German human rights defender Otto Lukhterhandt and a British expert Christopher Langton from the "truth mission". For instance, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Grigol Vashadze announced in February on the air of Imedi TV Company that the official Tbilisi regards it unacceptable that those persons who expressed prejudiced opinions in respect of the Russian and Georgian war should take part in the commission's work.
Chairman of the Georgian Defense Committee Givi Targamadze stated then that two members of the commission "knew beforehand" that the war was started by Georgia. He supposed that their position could affect the final report. Vice Prime Minister Temur Yakobashvili accused Lukhterhandt and Langton of financial connection with Gazprom, which might be "easily checked".
Despite various readings, the results of Tagliavini's report basically coincided with the viewpoint that was expressed immediately after the August events by the European experts that were unwanted for Georgia: the war was started by Georgia.
The report made by the "mission of truth" contains Otto Lukhterhandt's private conclusion that "Russia may justify its military operation against Georgia with its right of self-defense (art.51 of the UN By-laws), as well as the right of collective self-defense together with South Ossetia".
Due to the Georgian media, the authorities managed to convince the public that the report of Tagliavini's commission is rather ambiguous, stating that Russia is to blame no less than the Georgian government.