Georgia conflict to top agenda as Merkel meets Medvedev in Sochi

Other News Materials 15 August 2008 12:12 (UTC +04:00)

The conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia is to top the agenda when German Chancellor Angela Merkel travels to the Black Sea resort of Sochi Friday for talks with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, German media reported.

The row over the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia would be the "sole theme of the meeting," the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said, even though the meeting had been planned well before the simmering conflict erupted into open warfare, dpa reported.

National public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk also said the Caucasus would be the main theme of the talks, which it predicted would focus on the implementation of a European Union peace plan being pushed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during France's six-month presidency of the 27-member bloc.

Russia's ambassador to Berlin, Vladimir Kotenev, told the Bild tabloid that Medvedev would present evidence to Merkel of Georgian atrocities.

"Women and children were murdered, churches packed with refugees set alight and entire villages razed," he told the paper.

The Russian president would also warn Merkel about the dangers of too much influence from the EU's Eastern European members on the bloc's policy towards Russia, the ambassador said.

Merkel is to travel to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on Sunday to hold talks with President Mikhail Saakashvili in a hastily arranged trip that follows on the heels of a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday.