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Could Run-Flat Tires Have Prevented War Between Russia & Georgia?

An intriguing possibility.

According to the leading British newspaper, a flattened tyre of a Russian diplomatic car forced the cancellation of key peace talks between the sides before fighting erupted 10 days ago. Though trouble had been brewing in the disputed South Ossetian region for weeks as Moscow-backed militias skirmished with Georgian troops, Russian-brokered negotiations between the Georgian government and the separatists continued. But on Aug 7, the first substantial face-to-face talks failed following a farcical chain of events with a top Russian diplomat claiming that he could not attend the meeting in South Ossetia because his car tyre had run flat, the newspaper said.

But looking more closely at the situation, it seems the flat tire was simply an excuse.

“I called and spoke to [Russian diplomat Yuri] Popov and he said he could not get to the office because his car had a flat tyre,” [Timur] Yakobashvili said. “This was preposterous. I said the delegation must have more cars. He said there is another car but its tyre is flat too. At this point I knew it was a trap and I was very angry.”

And even if run-flat tires were to effectively eliminate the flat tire excuse, there are other ways to miss an important meeting.

Asked about the whereabouts of the rest of the delegation, General Kulakhmetov, the only Russian present at the meeting hall, said the South Ossetian delegate had turned his mobile off.
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