Abkhazia: EU Representative Proposes Greater Involvement
Below is an extract from an article written by Ekaterina Basilaia, published by The Messenger;
Peter Semnebey, EU special representative to the South Caucasus, has announced a new plan to deepen EU involvement in
For Abkhazia, Semneby's plan focuses on European Commission (EC)-funded cultural programmes, such as an EU information centre in Sokhumi, and later widening the official UN-led negotiating format for conflict resolution to include an EU representative as an observer or full participant. The plan also calls for new customs structures to legitimise trade with both the unrecognised entities to help end the culture of isolation and smuggling prevalent today.
According to the plan, the focus on cultural programmes is "designed to show the Abkhaz people what they are missing as the Georgian economy blossoms and integrates with the west," the report says.
Furthermore, Semneby's plan envisages sending two senior EU police experts to
In addition, Semneby does not rule out the possibility of sending EU peacekeepers to the conflict zones to replace Russian peacekeeping mission there, but only if "
The idea of possibly replacing Russian peacekeepers in
In South Ossetia, the EU draft focuses on monitoring alleged Russian arms smuggling through the Roki Tunnel, which links the breakaway region with
However, talking with the EUobserver, Semneby noted that the EU is not aiming for any formal role in conflict settlement right now, but the only thing they want to achieve is to move the situation away from the brink of hostilities.
"We should not be too ambitious here," Semneby told EUobserver.