Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), participated in a one day seminar organized by the French Embassy, the “Institut Francais d’Etudes Anatoliennes”and Chavchavadze University. The Seminar, held on 20th March, focused on EU’s Policy towards Russia in the aftermaths of war in Georgia.
The Seminar hosted as speakers the Head of the European Commission, the Ambassador of France, high level representatives from the Georgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, from the Georgian Ministry for Reintegration, and from the EU Special Representative’s Office for the South Caucasus. Several researchers from European and Turkish Think Tanks and from the Georgian University also attended, and contributed to the topic under discussion. The French Ambassador underlined the need to involve Russia in all talks on the situation in Georgia and the need for a unified EU approach towards Georgia, stressing the fact that for the first time in any crisis, the EU was able to speak with one voice. He also mentioned that the Eastern European Partnership has just been agreed among EU member states. It will further strengthen the cooperation between the EU and Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Head of the European Commission Delegation, Ambassador Per Eklund, stressed the interdependence between Russia and the EU.
Georgian Officials emphasised that the EU is perceived as a guarantor of peace, democracy, development, stability and territorial integrity and welcomed the decisions taken by the European Council to deploy the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia. Georgia fully supports the activities of EUMM. However, they condemned the fact that Russia has not withdraw to their lines prior to the August conflict and they called for EUMM to have access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Another main issue addressed by Georgian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs was the evolution and the perspectives of the Geneva talks.
On the Panel II “EU in the Caucasus after the August War” during the afternoon, Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, Head of the EUMM, spoke about the EUMM in Georgia: assessments and prospects. EUMM is an unarmed, civilian mission with a mandate covering the entire Georgia. Key components of the mandate are normalisation, stabilisation and confidence building measures. Ambassador Haber underlined the main achievements of the EUMM, talking about the implementation of the six point agreement signed between Sarkozy and Medvedev on 12 August, the fast deployment of the EU monitors on the ground within 15 days, and the security situation being better than expected. Together with the Georgian government, the EUMM achieved already some important steps towards confidence-building. EUMM concluded two Memoranda of Understanding: with the Ministry of Interior Affairs and with the Ministry of Defence. In these agreements, Georgia committed itself unilaterally to limit the amount of forces and equipment in the districts neighbouring Abkhazia and South Ossetia. As long as Georgia complies with these Memoranda of Understanding, which is monitored by EUMM, Georgia will not have the capability to use any aggressive force against the administrative boundary lines. Further mutual confidence-building should be achieved through the Incident Prevention Mechanism, approved in the Fourth Round of Geneva talks last February.