European leaders went into their summit in Brussels divided over how to respond to events in Georgia. Some eastern members wanted a tough line against Russia over its continued military presence in Georgia. But western countries like Germany and France wanted a more measured response.
What emerged was a compromise.The French President presented it in forceful terms:
“We will demand that Russia scrupulously applies the peace plan. Europe will be fully involved with the reconstruction of Georgia, including the delivery of humanitarian aid, and we will take the initiative to launch an international conference on rebuilding,” President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
The Georgian leadership sees the EU’s position as a show of support. But with Russian troops still on their soil many in the country are disappointed the bloc did not go further. With the EU so heavily dependent on Russia for energy, there was little surprise, however, that Brussels stopped short of sanctions.
The low-key reaction from Russia may encourage the EU that Sarkozy’s visit to Moscow next week will have a positive outcome.