Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, has strongly denied reports that President Saakashvili issued an order authorizing launch of military operations on August 7 “to restore constitutional order” in breakaway South Ossetia. Iakobashvili said the report was “part of series of lies and misinformation” by Russia, which aimed at misleading EU-funded war inquiry mission, led by Swiss diplomat, Heidi Tagliavini.
source: Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 March
Spiegel reported on its website on March 21, that Russia handed over to the EU-funded war inquiry mission an intercepted presidential Order No. 2 issued by Saakashvili, which the Georgian side had refused to reveal to the mission, citing that the document was a state secret. According to the same report, which also appeared on Spiegel Online’s English version on March 23, controversial remarks by Georgian military official, Mamuka Kurashvili, who said late on August 7 that Georgia was launching an operation “to restore constitutional order” in the breakaway region was a quote from the Georgian presidential order issued earlier on the same day.
“No such authentic document – an order mentioned in the [Spiegel] article – exists,” Temur Iakobashvili told Civil.Ge on March 24.
“That is from the series of Russia’s same old lies, which also involved some American mercenaries fighting on our side [during the August war]… through which Russia tries to discredit Georgia,” he said. “It has no importance in essence how many lies Russia will tell.”
“I believe that there will be competent members in the commission to assess the authenticity of the document,” reportedly handed over by the Russian side to the EU’s inquiry mission, Iakobashvili added.
Asked if the inquiry mission had requested the Georgian government to hand over the alleged presidential order, Iakobashvili responded: “I am not aware of that… I am not aware if that concrete document in question was requested.”
“The commission has requested all the documents and materials available. We are quite actively cooperating with the commission. The conclusion that will be made by the commission is very important for us. So we are submitting all the available documents and information to the commission. And I want to remind you that it was the idea of the Georgian government to set up this type of inquiry commission. We have nothing to hide, as we are sure in our truth.”
“Russia tries to manipulate the commission, but I still believe that the commission will make a fair conclusion,” Iakobashvili added.
He also said that “this ‘information leak’ coincided with President Saakashvili visit in Brussels” where he participated in a high-profile forum.
“We are already accustomed to this type of ‘information leaks’ by the Russian special services coinciding with President Saakashvili’s foreign trips,” Iakobashvili added.
The EU’s war inquiry mission is expected to present its report to EU, OSCE, Georgia and Russia on July 31, 2009; but the mission could be extended beyond that deadline if needed.