Steinmeier arrives in Georgia on peace mission
German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier arrived in Tbilisi on Thursday in an effort to revive peace talks over simmering conflicts in Georgia's rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, reported dpa.
"We don't have any illusions about simple answers, but we cannot stand by without acting on this conflict. That would be irresponsible," Steinmeier told journalist on the flight over.
Steinmeier's task will be to align the views from Georgia with the demands of Moscow and the Russian-backed separatist regions.
From Tbilisi he will travel to the Black Sea city of Batumi for talks with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and opposition leaders and then to Abkhazia on Friday before ending his three-day campaign in Moscow.
Steinmeier is expected to put forth a three-phase peace plan consisting of a mutual declaration of non-violence, repatriation of ethnic Georgian refugees to Abkhazia and foreign aid for reconstruction of the breakaway regions.
Negotiations over the status of the two rebel regions, which have enjoyed de facto autonomy since the end of a civil war in 1994, was reserved for the final phase of negotiations.
Analyst do not expect anything conclusive from Steinmeier's trip, pointing out that Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh has categorically refused the repatriation of ethnic Georgians to the region.
Most citizens of the breakaway republics have issued Russian passports and over 2,500 Russian peacekeeping troops patrol the region under a UN ceasefire agreement.
Moscow's moves to strengthen diplomatic ties lead to an escalation of tension with Georgian leadership in recent months.