Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia/georgia : Swiss Diplomat to Head Probe into Russia-Georgia War

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia/georgia : Swiss Diplomat to Head Probe into Russia-Georgia War

Article excerpt

Swiss career diplomat Heidi Tagliavini has been appointed head of the EU-led independent international fact-finding mission in post-conflict Georgia, to be launched "shortly," the French EU Presidency has announced. The aim of the mission is to "investigate the causes of the conflict, with a view to gaining better understanding of why and how the crisis developed," added a statement, issued on 21 November.

The idea to set up a special fact-finding mission to look into the five-day war between Russia and Georgia, which broke out on 7 August, originates with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Avignon, France, in September). It was subsequently adopted by the French EU Presidency and was welcomed by both Georgia and Russia.

Tagliavini's appointment is set to be rubber stamped by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) this week, before being formally agreed at an EU foreign ministers' meeting, on 1 December, according to an EU diplomat cited by the AFP. Her candidacy is strongly supported by the European Commission. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner responsible for external relations, has described her as an "excellent person".

Following the official confirmation of her appointment, Tagliavini is set to select members of her team of recognised' experts, including historians as well as military, juridical and human rights experts, according to the mission's mandate. Tagliavini herself has extensive regional knowledge and experience. She served as the UN special representative to Georgia from 2002 to 2006, and before that she was deputy head of the UN observer mission in Georgia (1998-1999). …

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