EU report into Georgia war delayed
A European Union report into last year's war in Georgia, which may implicate leaders of the former Soviet republic in starting the fighting, has been delayed to avoid fresh tensions.
European governments have postponed the publication of the Swiss-led investigation from July 31 to the end of September, amid fears of new tensions between Russia and Georgia in August, which marks the first anniversary of the Kremlin's invasion.
"No one wants to do anything that could raise the temperature in the region during a sensitive period. The Caucasus region is turbulent enough at the best of times. The investigators asked for more time and, frankly, that is convenient at a time when tensions in region are, naturally, high one year on from the conflict," said one European diplomat.
Divisions between European governments over how to respond to Russia's invasion of Georgia – and Moscow's de facto annexation of the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – lie behind the EU report into the war.
Britain is less worried about who fired the first shots and mainly concerned with the principle of Russia occupying two regions of Georgian territory.
Other countries, led by Germany, lean towards Russia's claim that President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia fired the opening shots of the war and provoked the Kremlin's invasion.
Early drafts of the EU report, leaked in Germany, have supported this view by suggesting that Georgia started the conflict. They suggest that Russian tanks entered Georgian territory only after Mr Saakashvili's forces attacked the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.