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EU ministers talks tough ahead of Moscow meeting

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EU ministers talks tough ahead of Moscow meeting


Ahead of talks with Russia on Monday EU foreign Ministers have lashed out at Moscow over keeping troops in Georgia. After their meeting in the French city of Avignon France’s Bernard Kouchner said Russia had implemented no more than three of six points of a ceasefire deal that ended the recent war over the breakaway South Ossetia region. He said the Russian president needed to “respect his own signature.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be in Moscow and Tiblisi on Monday in a bid to advance the peace plan.

Kouchner also said the EU would send its own mission to observe Russia’s withdrawal from Georgia. It would initially join monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, he added.

Javier Solana said the details remained to be worked out but there was a precedent for the mission: “Remember that during the wars in the Balkans we had observer missions there that were extraordinarily effective. It’s not the first time we’ve done this but it’s the first time we’ve gone to the Caucusus.”

The OSCE says Russian forces have not tried to stop its monitors from moving freely throughout Georgia. That may ease tensions somewhat but other issues, such as US aid shipments to Georgia, are having the opposite effect.

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