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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Official Says U.S. Rushed To Georgian Side in Spat

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that it was disappointed with the United States and other countries for their "haste" in taking Georgia's side in a dispute over a missile dropped on Georgian soil.

Georgia accused a Russian jet of dropping a one-ton missile -- which failed to explode -- in a farmer's field about 65 kilometers from Tbilisi on Aug. 6. Moscow denied involvement and said Tbilisi fabricated the incident.

But the United States, a close Georgian ally, condemned what it called a rocket attack on Georgia and a group of military experts from the United States, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania said last week that the missile was dropped by a Russian jet.

The incident looks set to become an additional irritant in U.S.-Russian ties already strained by a dispute over Washington's plans to locate elements of an anti-missile defense shield in Central Europe.

"Georgia and some of its Western partners tried, in great haste ... in the space of a few hours, to accuse us of aggression against Georgia," First Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Vesti-24 television.

"We need to avoid haste in this issue. It is not a joke. It is a serious issue. We are talking about stability in the region," Karasin said.

"As for the U.S. position and that of a number of other countries, we are disappointed by the haste with which these countries took the Georgian side."

Russian officials are suspicious of Georgia's close ties with the West.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, has aggressively moved his ex-Soviet state out of Moscow's orbit and said he wants to take the country into NATO and the European Union.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a 56-nation security and rights watchdog, has appointed a special envoy to look into the missile incident.

The envoy, former Croatian Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul, had meetings with officials in Tbilisi on Monday, and will travel to Moscow for talks there later in the week.

"We are here to help continue dialogue and that is primarily our task, not to make any prosecution, judgment or anything like that," Zuzul told reporters in Tbilisi.

"Being a diplomat, I do believe in the possibility of dialogue," he said. "I hope we will get the same messages in Moscow."