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EU's Barroso reiterates Georgia solidarity

Latest update : 2008-09-09

European Commission head José Barosso has reiterated EU support for Georgia following the conflict with Russia, a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to withdraw all troops from Georgia, barring its two breakaway republics.

  
European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso expressed the European Union's "solidarity" with Georgia on Tuesday following last month's conflict with Russia and said it could count on EU "engagement".

"Georgia can count on the solidarity and the engagement of the European Union in these difficult hours. The EU is ready to deepen its political and economic relations with Georgia," he said.

Barroso was speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi where he was part of an EU delegation led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Visiting Russia earlier Monday the delegation received a pledge from President Dmitry Medvedev that all Russian troops would be withdrawn over the next month from Georgia except for those in the two rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russian tanks and troops surged into Georgia on August 8 to rebuff a Georgian offensive to retake South Ossetia, a Moscow-backed separatist region.

Moscow argued that the action was to protect thousands of people to whom it had granted Russian citizenship since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Hundreds of people on both sides are estimated to have been killed in the conflict, which wrought extensive destruction on the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. Tens of thousands fled their homes.

Date created : 2008-09-09