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Schmid joins board probing Georgia conflict

Former Defence Minister Samuel Schmid has a new mission, investigating with the European Union the causes of the conflict last year between Russia and Georgia.

Schmid, who stepped down at the end of 2008, is now part of the Senior Advisory Board of the EU's independent commission on the issue.

The experts, who met for the first time in Geneva on Monday, also include former foreign ministers of Germany and Austria, Joschka Fischer and Ursula Plassnik, and the former president of the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, Cornelio Sommaruga.

Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini is leading the European Union's investigation into the chain of events in the August conflict over Georgia's rebel South Ossetia.

Tagliavini has extensive regional knowledge and experience. She was deputy head of the UN observer mission in Georgia (1998-1999), the Swiss ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2002) and a member of the first Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) assistance group to Chechnya (1995).

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