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Sukhumi is prepared to speak to Brussels on equal terms2009-02-16 14:56
Peter Semneby, the European Union's Special Representative on the South Caucasus, and Per Eklund, head of the European Commission in Georgia, visited the Abkhazian capital on 11 February.
"The European Union was the driving force behind the reunification of Europe in the last decade of the twentieth century, helping to eliminate the consequences of the Second World War. There are other conflicts where it also has positive experience," affirmed Peter Semneby before meeting the Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh, as "Interfax" reports.
The EU's special representative on the South Caucasus was clearly intending to convince the Abkhazian leader of the need for European Union monitors to be present in the republic. But as we all know, the president is wary about the Europeans, who do not want to recognize the fact that new states have appeared in the region. And this is not only demonstrated by their statements. Hence last November EU observers illegally came onto Abkhazian territory, however they were noticed by border guards and hurriedly withdrew.
"There are not going to be any European Union monitors in Abkhazia," the Regnum news agency quotes the president. "We are more worried about the future fate of the UN mission." According to Sergey Bagapsh, even if the UN mission stops working in the republic, they will not look to replace it in the form of the EU. In conclusion, the Abkhazian leader noted: "This and many other issues are being solved in Abkhazia directly and with its leadership, not with Russia."
Moscow is of the same opinion. Literally a few days ago, at a meeting with his Western European colleagues, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reminded them of Abkhazia and South Ossetia's sovereign right to decide themselves which organization's observers are able to and will be located on their land.
The experienced diplomat Peter Semneby tried to mend the situation and declared at the end of the meeting with the Abkhazian president: "The situation has calmed down, and this gives us the opportunity to start dealing with humanitarian problems again, as well as restoring trust."
Of course, Brussels has significant opportunities to restore Sukhumi's trust. Including at the upcoming Geneva talks on security in the South Caucasus, which will be taking place on 17-18 February. This will already be the fourth round of talks, but the positions of the participants have not become an inch closer. In Sergey Bagapsh's opinion, this time something at least needs to be achieved, otherwise the talks will simply lose any meaning: