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Italian PM says truth of S. Ossetia conflict must emerge

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The international community should be told the truth about the August war between Georgia and Russia over Tbilisi's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the Italian premier said on Thursday.
MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - The international community should be told the truth about the August war between Georgia and Russia over Tbilisi's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, the Italian premier said on Thursday.

"I would like citizens of Europe and the world to learn the real facts that led to this conflict," Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said following Russian-Italian intergovernmental consultations.

Berlusconi, one of the few western leaders who said that Russia's actions at that time were a response to Georgia's aggression, said Rome's position on the conflict in South Ossetia was solely based on facts.

"It turned out that we were able to find them [the facts] out, and I believe that this knowledge should help the international community to understand and overcome the international disinformation," the Italian premier said.

Russian politicians have repeatedly accused Western media outlets of bias in their coverage of the five-day conflict, and many Western powers of hypocrisy.

Russian political commentators have pointed out that the Georgian attack on South Ossetia, which led to Russia's military response was barely mentioned in mainstream Western media reports, and that Russia was portrayed as the sole aggressor in the conflict.

Reports in the Russian media have also said that CNN broadcast footage of damage in South Ossetia claiming it was Georgia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who held talks with Berlusconi on Thursday, agreed with the Italian premier that the world needed to hear the truth about the conflict in South Ossetia, but said it should not affect cooperation between Russia and the European Union.

"We have to tell the truth on what happened and Mr. Berlusconi has just confirmed this, but this issue should not leave any stain on relations between Russia and the European Union," Medvedev said following talks with Berlusconi.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgian breakaway republic, as independent states on August 26. Medvedev said that the move was "the only way to protect people's lives." Western powers called the decision unacceptable.

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