Peter Semneby, the EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, said on October 5 that Georgia’s “legitimate” attempts to replace Russian-led peacekeeping operations in the conflict zones contain “serious weaknesses” as they are presented in an “unnecessarily provocative” way towards Russia, RFE/RL reported.
"In addition to that, in order to create the conditions for resolving the conflicts by peaceful means, the rhetoric that has been at some points fairly sharp on the part of some Georgian officials will have to be toned down and will have instead to be replaced by confidence-building measures of various kinds to create the conditions for a real dialogue between Georgians and Ossetians and [the] Abkhaz," Semneby said.
He also said that there was international pressure on President Saakashvili to make him moderate his speech at the UN General Assembly Session. As a result, Semneby said, Saakashvili refrained from seting a timeframe for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The EU diplomat noted that there was no progress in implementing Tbilisi’s peace plans in respect to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, partly because of the removal of “relatively moderate” Georgian chief negotiators – referring to Giorgi Khaindrava, ex-State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues and Irakli Alasania, who was chief negotiator for Abkhaz issues before being appointed as Georgia’s Ambassador to the UN.