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Georgia: Did NATO recognise EU authority?

The EU Foreign Ministers welcomed the agreement reached in Moscow on 8 September, by Nicolas Sarkozy, Jose Manuel Barroso and Dmitry Medvedev, according to which Russian forces should completely withdraw from the zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia to the lines held before to the outbreak of the conflict, within 10 days of the deployment in those zones of observers from the European Union, and that this should take place by 1 October 2008.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia were kept outside the scope of the agreement. Under a deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russia is to end its occupation of the buffer zones that it has created inside Georgia, but only once the EU sends in sufficient ceasefire observers to replace them.

According to the French Presidency the EU priority, at the moment, is to deploy observers into the zones adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia first and to make sure that Russia withdraws from Georgia by 10 October. However, in the future, the EU is hoping to deploy its mission to the breakaway regions which Russia strongly opposes. Some Member States have raised concerns over the EU observers not being deployed to breakaway regions as they believe that it may wrongly imply that the EU is recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Bernard Kouchner has said “Let's not just see the obstacles in our path, otherwise we would never do anything ...We are not recognizing anything in our text.” It should be noted that NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has criticized the peace plan reached by Sarkozy on 8 September. According to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, such agreement was “not acceptable” because it allows Russia to keep a military presence inside South Ossetia and Abkhazia and this contradicts the six point agreement reached by Sarkozy on 12 August which calls for a return to the status quo before the conflict broke out.


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Bill Cash has been the Conservative Member of Parliament for Stone since 1997 and an MP since 1984.

He is currently the Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee and the founder member of the European Foundation...

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