Speaking at a joint news conference Solana said that the issue was discussed during the meeting with Saakashvili, who is holding talks with EU and NATO officials in Brussels on February 26-27.
“I would like to state clearly that we are ready to help, to participate in all necessary missions as long as those missions have a clear objective, an objective that can be achieved; otherwise I think there's no point served,” Solana said.
"We would like to insist also on the importance we attach to the territorial integrity of Georgia. It will have also all our support and if we can be of any help we will play that role,” he added.
Tbilisi has been trying to replace the current Russian-dominated peacekeeping and negotiating formats for Abkhazia and South Ossetia with international arrangements where the EU, UN, OSCE and the U.S. will play leading roles.
Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhashvili said on February 21 that some eastern European countries, including the Baltic States, Poland, Romania and Ukraine, are ready to send their peacekeepers to Georgia’s conflict zones, but this all depends on which international organization’s aegis a potential new peacekeeping mission would be carried out under.
Speaking at the same news conference in Brussels President Saakashvili said that the EU’s involvement in Georgia’s conflict resolution process should be based on three “main issues:”
A. Unconditional support for Georgia’s territorial integrity;
“It can never be violated under any circumstances,” Saakashvili said.
B. The EU should engage in talks not only with de facto authorities in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, but also with other “actors on the ground;”
“Not just talking to the people - some of whom have committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing - but also talking to all the different members of the community, reaching out to communities and reaching out to individual people of the communities [is necessary],” Saakashvili said.
C. Discouraging separatism and “encouraging dialogue and reconciliation.”
“I think that European involvement has been along these lines, and that is involvement that we strongly welcome,” Saakashvili said.
While speaking about the second condition, Saakashvili was clearly referring to the Tbilisi-backed Abkhaz government-in-exile led by Malkhaz Akishbaia and the Tbilisi-loyal “alternative authorities” of South Ossetia led by self-imposed ‘President’ Dimitri Sanakoev.
A decision of the Council of Europe delegation that visited Georgia on February 12-18 to meet with Akishbaia and Sanakoev after holding talks with the secessionist authorities in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali was a step forward in Tbilisi’s drive to increase the profile of the alternative Abkhaz and South Ossetian ‘authorities’.
But unlike CoE officials, diplomats from the European Union show a more cautious approach in this regard. A fact-finding team from the EU that visited Georgia and its breakaway regions in January refrained from meeting with representatives from the South Ossetian ‘alternative authorities’ and Abkhaz government-in-exile.
After talks with Javier Solana, President Saakashvili also said on February 26 that the Kosovo case can not be a precedent for a solution in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He noted that in the cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia “small groups of armed separatists with foreign assistance” have forced the majority of the population from their homes.
“If you accept this precedent, you are accepting that European-type democracy is replaced by basically a pure cannibalism,” Saakashvili said.
“Something that can be a solution in one place can cause additional problems in many other places,” he added.