Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

EU preparing snap summit on Russia-Georgia war

  • The EU summit venue in Brussels (Photo: © European Communities)

Updated 13:30 The French EU presidency is preparing to call an emergency EU summit on the Russia-Georgia conflict, following a Polish request. A snap gathering of EU foreign ministers has already been organised in Brussels for Wednesday (13 August).

"The proposal of [Polish] prime minister Donald Tusk to hold a meeting of the European council at the level of heads of government has been accepted. We don't know the date yet," Polish foreign minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, said at a press briefing in Warsaw on Saturday.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"There is...a possibility a formal summit will take place in Brussels later in the week," Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, told Swedish news agency TT.

A French government spokesman confirmed that EU foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting in the EU capital on Wednesday, following a visit to Tbilisi and Moscow by the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, and Finnish foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, on Sunday and Monday.

Mr Kouchner will present a three-point French peace plan based on an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of both armies and "full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia." Mr Stubb is going in his capacity as chairman of the European security club, the OSCE.

"The EU must find a new language, a new mode of cooperation in its relations with Moscow," Mr Kouchner told French daily Le Parisien before his departure. "The conflict with Georgia may affect the evolution of our relations."

A lower-level EU diplomatic mission has already arrived in Georgia to help broker a ceasefire, after Russian tanks and warplanes attacked Georgia on Friday (8 August). Russian jets hit an airport in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Sunday morning, while Russian warships moved toward Georgia's Black Sea coast.

The incursion came in response to Georgia's assault on Russian-backed rebels in the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia, many of whom hold Russian passports. The fighting has caused heavy civilian casualties in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali and the Georgian town of Gori.

The Swedish foreign minister in a statement on Saturday voiced the strongest criticism yet by any EU member state of Russia's actions.

"We did not accept military intervention by Milosevic's Serbia in other former Yugoslav states on the grounds of protecting Serbian passport holders. And we have reason to remember how Hitler used this very doctrine little more than half a century ago to undermine and attack substantial parts of central Europe," Mr Bildt wrote.

The presidents of ex-communist EU states Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said in a joint statement that: "The EU and NATO must take the initiative and stand up against the spread of imperialist and revisionist policy in the east of Europe...The Russian Federation has overstepped a red line."

Accusations fly

Meanwhile, Russia and Georgia have accused each other of committing atrocities, and disagreements between Russia and Georgia ally the US continue to confound UN security council efforts to issue a joint resolution on the conflict.

Georgia's shelling of Tshkinvali was "genocide," Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin said after meeting South Ossetian refugees in the Russian border town of Vladikavkaz. "The territorial integrity of Georgia has suffered a fatal blow," he added, suggesting Russia will not let South Ossetia remain part of Georgia.

Georgia's "western friends" have contributed to the conflict by giving Tbilisi diplomatic backing and supplying arms, which "helped create the feeling of impunity inside the Georgian [president Mikhail Saakashvili]," Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said at a press conference in Moscow.

In a TV interview with the BBC, Mr Saakashvili said he had seen Russian warplanes deliberately fire on civilians in Gori. "We are dealing with war crimes here," he said, sitting in front of a Georgian and an EU flag. "We are a European democracy, a small European democracy, right now being butchered by this Russian government."

The president admitted Georgia cannot hold back the Russian army itself, if fighting goes on. "The world has to wake up and speak with one voice," he said. "The main thing here is to get international mediation, so there is some international framework and people can go back and rebuild their lives."

EU in diplomatic push to save Iran deal

EU leaders mobilise to stop Trump's attack on Iran deal, as Congress prepares knife-edge vote with implications for trans-Atantic ties and Middle East stability.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish Court declares Catalan referendum law void
  2. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  3. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies
  4. EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder
  5. Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging
  6. Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity
  7. Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China
  8. EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks
  2. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  3. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  4. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  5. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  6. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  7. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  8. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist