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Last minute diplomacy before EU summit

 Last minute diplomacy before EU summit
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Nicolas Sarkozy has been carrying out intensive telephone diplomacy ahead of today’s EU summit on the Russia-Georgia conflict.

The French president and Russia’s Dimitry Medvedev have discussed guaranteeing security in the region.

And Sarkozy has also been talking to Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, urging him not to call for sanctions at the summit in Brussels.

The situation dominated a strategic forum on climate change and energy, bringing together the Slovenian, Czech and Latvian prime ministers.

Europe depends heavily on Russian oil and gas.

Slovenia’s premier, Janez Jansa, told reporters: “There will be no proposal (at the summit) to apply sanctions to Russia, the French presidency was quite clear about it. I am personally also in favour of this point of view.”

But many former Soviet republics want to see a harder line. And in Georgia itself, they are hoping for concrete action.

President Mikheil Saakashvili said: “I expect Europe not to give up in the face of a dirty, unceremonious attempt of agression and occupation.

“I expect the beginning of a big movement to neutralise and curb this evil force. A movement which will make people who are responsible for these evil acts answer for them.”

He is likely to be disappointed. Although Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown is demanding a review of ties with Moscow, Germany is opting for a softly-softly approach.

As Russian troops continue to patrol deep inside Georgia, the biggest challenge for the EU will be to speak with one voice.