EU's Solana: Little hope on direct Georgia-Russia talks
The European Union will do anything in its power to facilitate direct talks between Georgia and Russia following the collapse of talks in Geneva, but the chances of a quick breakthrough are slim, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Thursday.
"After the big tension in August, it is very difficult to get face-to-face talks. But we will do everything possible," Solana said on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, reported dpa.
Solana's comments came a day after talks between Russia and Georgia in Geneva - the first since the Russian-Georgian war in August - were suspended amid mutual recriminations.
The Geneva talks, co-hosted by the EU, United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are now expected to resume on November 18.
The EU has sent a monitoring mission (EUMM) to Georgia to oversee Russia's withdrawal from core Georgia, as agreed in an international peace deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
On Thursday, EU leaders "welcomed" last week's Russian pull-out. But they said it was still too early to resume negotiations with Russia on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which the EU froze in the aftermath of the conflict.
Discussions among EU foreign ministers earlier this week exposed deep divisions within the 27-member bloc over the appropriateness of resuming such talks.
Solana said Thursday that he expected a decision on the PCA to be made ahead of an EU-Russia summit scheduled to take place on November 14 in Nice.