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Sarkozy calls for EU summit on Georgia

Latest update : 2008-08-25

In the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian conflict, EU president Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a European summit in September to discuss the future of EU relations with Russia and European aid to Georgia.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, will convene a special European summit on the crisis in Georgia on September 1, his office said Sunday.
  
He called the Brussels summit on the future of relations between the European Union and Russia and on aid to Georgia at the request of various European countries, the French presidency said.
  
"This meeting will be dedicated to the Georgian crisis, notably to what positions the European Union intends adopting, covering aid for Georgia and future relations with Russia," a statement read.
  
Ex-Communist Poland, which last week signed a missile defence deal with NATO partner the United States, amid veiled Russian threats, has been actively pressing for EU leaders to attend such a forum.
  
Another key US ally, Britain, for its part, has also said that the EU needs to reconsider a planned formal partnership with Russia, covering issues ranging from energy supply to defence cooperation.
  
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had warned that Sarkozy might convene an emergency EU meeting if Russia failed to pull back its forces from positions in the former Soviet republic.
  
Russia withdrew tanks, artillery and hundreds of troops from their most advanced positions in Georgia on Friday, saying it had fulfilled all obligations under a French-brokered peace agreement.
  
But Russian troops still control access to the key port of Poti, south of the Moscow-backed rebel region of Abkhazia, and have established other checkpoints around South Ossetia, where the conflict began.
  
Acting as head of the European Union, Sarkozy had on Saturday telephoned his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and asked him to withdraw his forces from a road linking Poti to inland Senaki in western Georgia.
  
The French presidency had said that the two leaders were agreed on the need for an international mechanism to monitor peace in Georgia.
  
However, the Kremlin subsequently rejected any notion that a deal would involve the replacement of Russian peacekeepers by forces under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is dispatching an additional 20 military observers to the area.
  
Russian troops poured into Georgia on August 8 to repel a Georgian attempt to regain control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, which is backed by Moscow.
  
Using tanks, artillery and air power, Russian troops managed to sweep across the country, stopping just some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital Tbilisi.

Date created : 2008-08-25

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