Sarkozy leads EU trio to Moscow

Other News Materials 8 September 2008 10:33 (UTC +04:00)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is heading to Moscow for talks with the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the crisis in Georgia, reported BBC.

He is joined by the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and the European Commission head, Jose Manuel Barroso.

The meeting comes after Russia's conflict with Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

President Sarkozy is expected to press Russia to fully implement a peace plan he brokered to end the fighting.

After talks in Moscow, the three senior European figures are due to go on to the Georgian capital, Tblisi, to meet President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Russia says it is honouring the terms of a six-point plan agreed to end the conflict.

President Sarkozy wants Russian troops to pull back from their current positions in Georgia - well beyond the boundaries of the two separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The European trio is also expected to press the Russians on arrangements for a strengthened international effort to monitor developments on the ground.

Some European leaders have already warned that there can be "no business as usual" with Russia until the peace plan is fully implemented, and the European Union has suspended talks on a new partnership agreement with Moscow.

However, with winter approaching, individual European countries continue to consume Russian oil and gas as usual.

BBC Diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus correspondent says Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, and its continuing failure to implement the agreement to the letter, will have profound consequences for Russian relations with the EU.

It will also make it difficult for President Sarkozy to achieve his goals in Moscow, he says.