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Eastern Neighbourhood

52 - Resolution of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia dispute

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 4/10
Total 9/20
Scorecard 2012: C (8/20)

All member states aim to defuse tensions without recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but talks with Russia produced only modest results.

The EU’s goal is to defuse tensions between Georgia and the two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and to avoid confrontation between Tbilisi and Moscow, which would spread instability across the South Caucasus. Also at stake is the ongoing rapprochement with Russia. Germany and France’s understanding that relations with Moscow have priority is increasingly accepted by Poland, whose late president Lech Kaczyński was a close ally of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili inside the EU.

The EU had only limited success in 2010. On the positive side, it kept Georgia and Russia at the negotiating table through talks in Geneva that were co-sponsored by the OSCE and the UN. On the other hand, those talks produced only modest results. Even humanitarian questions concerning displaced people continue to be divisive and not properly addressed, and Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives threatened several times to boycott the negotiations.

Following the Deauville summit between President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel and President Medvedev in October, Russian troops withdrew from the village of Perevi, located south of the administrative border of South Ossetia. Their presence was a major embarrassment for the EU, as it breached the terms of the ceasefire agreement negotiated by Sarkozy on behalf of the EU following the brief Russo-Georgian war in August 2008. Another positive development was the decision in May to restore the regular flights between Tbilisi and Moscow. Since then, Georgia has attempted to take the initiative, proposing an agreement whereby it and Russia would pledge to refrain from unilateral use of force (see also component 60, which covers some of the operational aspects of the mission deployed in Georgia).