Georgia has received a boost from the European Union in its ongoing row with Russia over a breakaway region. The EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Moscow has sent extra peacekeeping troops to Abkhazia to counter what it says is the threat of attack from Georgia.
Solana said: “These decisions are not wise decisions on the part of the Russian government. They do not contribute to a solution of these problems. They contribute to raising the temperature which is not something we need today. If anything is needed, it is to lower the temperature.”
Western diplomats say the row over Abkhazia, which fought to shake off Tbilisi’s rule in the 1990s, has escalated to the point where it would only take a small spark to ignite fresh fighting.
Saakashvili will meet the new Russian president Dmitry Medvedev today. The Georgian leader said he had a more conciliatory style that his predecessor.
Russia says its latest batch of peacekeepers were sent to Abkhazia to repair railways, not as part of a military build-up.
The European Parliament says they are no longer neutral and called on the EU to send its own border mission.