Tbilisi Welcomes EU’s Proposal To Expand Its Role In Conflict Resolving

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes European Union’s proposal to expand the EU’s role in resolving the Conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, reported PNA.

The statement released by the Ministry says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has been informed that European Union’s Political and Security Committee (PSC) agreed on the proposal to expand the EU’s role in resolving the conflict in the Abkhazia region of Georgia.

Georgia welcomes this decision as an important step in strengthening the role of the ***international community*** in resolving the separatist conflict.

The EU’s move will help break the discredited monopoly held by the Russian Federation in providing security on the ground and in facilitating the peace process.

"The Russian-dominated peacekeeping and negotiating formats have failed for 14 years to yield any progress on their principal goals....the statement reads.

"In recent months, the Russian Federation has openly become a party to the conflict through a series of acts of aggression aiming at the economic, legal, and military annexation of this region. As a result, Georgia and the ****international community*** face a dangerous destabilization in the South Caucasus and a risk of military confrontation", the statement says.

In this context, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appreciates the recent efforts of the international community to defuse the crisis and to propose fundamental changes in the conflict-resolution processes.

These all constitute steps in the right direction — the replacement of the existing, ineffectual formats and the end of the Russian monopoly on these processes.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia also notes the announcement of the upcoming visits to Georgia by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb, and by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

A comprehensive review of the situation in the Abkhazia region, commissioned by the UN Secretary General is underway. All of these important events underscore a critical internationalization of the peace process and the necessity to change the peacekeeping and negotiating formats.

In welcoming these initiatives by the international community, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia also reiterates that any effective peace effort must recognize and confront the destabilizing role played by the Russian military forces in Georgia (be they "peacekeepers," paratroopers or "unarmed railway forces") and by the Russian President’s April 16 decree aimed at legitimizing the annexation of the Abkhazia region of Georgia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is committed to the peaceful resolution of the separatist conflicts and, towards this end, stands ready to continue its dialogue with the representatives of the Russian Federation, as well as with the separatists without any preconditions.

[Source: Trend News Agency, Azerbaijan, 05Aug08]

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