WORLD> Europe
EU plans civilian mission in Georgia: Solana
Updated: 2008-09-02 09:59

BRUSSELS  -- The European Union (EU) is planning to deploy a civilian mission in Georgia to help monitor the ceasefire, EU top diplomat Javier Solana said on Monday.

Related readings:
 EU threatens to postpone talks on Russian pact
 EU may review ties with Russia
 Possible EU steps in the South Ossetia crisis
 EU mulling sanctions against Russia

"I hope very much that by the next (summit) on the 15th of October, we will have all the decisions finalized" for the mission, he told reporters before a special EU summit on Georgia.

A fact-finding mission of about 40 people are currently on the ground, Solana said.

"We would like to have a new mission deployed soon" across areas controlled by Georgian troops to see that a France-brokered ceasefire agreement was properly implemented after the Georgia-Russia conflict over South Ossetia, he added.

"It will be a mission in the hundreds, not a huge one," Solana said, adding that the Monday summit and an informal meeting of foreign ministers later this week will discuss the civilian mission and a plan to send peacekeepers.

Georgia would expect the EU peacekeepers to replace Russian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Russian peacekeepers have been present since an outbreak of violence in the early 1990s.

However, the EU can not deploy military peacekeepers in the regions without a UN Security Council resolution. Russia, which has a veto power in the Council, has rejected such a notion.

Last week, Moscow recognized the independence of the two breakaway Georgian regions, a move that has drawn strong condemnation from the West.

Solana said he would soon go to Moscow and Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, to see how the EU could help settle the crisis.