News and Features

Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner visits EUMM

On 20 January, the EU Commissioner for External Relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, visited the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM). It was the first visit of the Commissioner to EUMM, deployed less than four months ago. The Head of EUMM, Ambassador Hansjörg Haber, briefed the Commissioner on EUMM’s mandate, structure and the achievements of the first few months.

Despite serious incidents along the administrative boundary lines to South Ossetia and Abkhazia during the weekend, the security situation in the adjacent areas is better than initially expected. However, it is not stable. To improve this situation, EUMM has proposed an incident settlement mechanism that would enhance the exchange of information between the conflict parties. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner stressed the importance of such a mechanism and said that she would also press for its installation in her talks both with Georgian as well as with Russian authorities.

Ambassador Haber pointed out that the cease-fire agreements, set out as symmetric commitments of the conflicting parties, had de facto become asymmetric with the Russian recognition of South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence. Although in the Six-Point-Plan both Russia and Georgia had agreed to withdraw their troops to the positions held before the outbreak of hostilities, Russia now claims that the basis for the presence of Russian troops in the two separatist regions has changed and has not withdrawn its troops to the previous positions.

Ambassador Haber informed Ms. Ferrero-Waldner about EUMM’s efforts to ensure the non-use of force in the areas adjacent to the administrative boundary lines. The European Union promised to Russia in the cease-fire agreements to guarantee the respect of this principle by the Georgian side. In order to provide more transparency, EUMM is actually negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Georgian Ministry of Defence.

Leaving EUMM Headquarters, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner commended EUMM’s work and underlined that Brussels fully supported this mission.

Follow us on social media