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13 Aug, 2008 15:01

EU foreign ministers to send observers to Georgia

European Union foreign ministers have announced they are prepared to send observers to Georgia in a bid to maintain stability. It comes as they are meeting in Brussels to discuss their response to the situation of Georgia and South Ossetia.

The meeting was opened by the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, who presented information gathered during his trip to the conflict zone (WATCH the press conference).

The EU countries say they will support the plan to stabilise the situation in the Caucuses if it receives the backing of the UN Security Council.

Bernard Kouchner said the European Union is ready to send observers to the Caucasus and provide humanitarian aid. But he also added that the role of the EU must be not just humanitarian, but also political.

The EU high representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, echoed those views, claiming they want to do things “not only in theory but in practice and on the ground”’.

He said: “That means providing humanitarian aid and reconstruction, to which we will be committed to. Then we want to try and have a political solution to the problem. It will depend on how the events develop, but we need to come up with a resolution for what was a frozen conflict, because now it has turned into a real conflict”.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to visit Tbilisi next week, according to a German government spokesman.

International reaction

International opinion seems to be divided on Russia's military actions in the war-torn region of South Ossetia.

Many western nations have publicly condemned the country's operations in the area.

But one news agency is reporting a senior French official who called president Saakashvili “a madman who went and bombed a town in the middle of the night”.

South Ossetia's President Eduard Kokoity has fully backed the Russia-proposed plan to restore peace in the region.

U.S. Foreign secretary Condoleezza Rice reiterated America's viewpoint by stating its support for Georgia.

Rice's UK counterpart, David Milliband, says Russia must face the consequences for its actions, saying it was still using Soviet-era thinking.

For more international reaction to the conflict please follow thelink.
Turkey suggests ‘Caucasian alliance’

While the EU is attempting to broker a long term peace deal, Turkey has come up with its own solution to the South Ossetian crisis. The state has suggested the creation of a so-called 'Caucasian alliance' to stabilise the situation in Georgia.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the plan at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow.

Apparently Turkey has proposed a number of, so far, undisclosed initiatives. Enigmatically, its Prime Minister stressed his solidarity with Russia on the topic of South Ossetia.

Turkey is a NATO member and has a close strategic partnership with Georgia. However, it views the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts as a potential danger to peace and stability in the entire region.