EU foreign ministers endorsed on September 15 the establishment of a civilian EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia to observe compliance by the parties of the six-point ceasefire accord.
EUMM, with headquarters in Tbilisi, will have 200 observers deployed in areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The mission, which is being established for an initial duration of twelve months with a budget of EUR 31 million, will also have field offices. It, however, was not immediately clear where exactly these field offices will be located.
According to the agreement signed by the French and Russian presidents in Moscow on September 8, 200 unarmed EU observers will be deployed in the areas adjacent to South Ossetia and Abkhazia by October 1. Russian troops, which currently occupy those areas, should pull out from there within ten days after the deployment of the EU observers.
Georgia wants EU monitors to also cover areas inside breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia in the next stage of deployment – something which is opposed by Russia.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on September 15 that the EU was ready and “disposed” to cover the two breakaway regions. “But,” he continued, “we have to see how the situation evolves on the ground.”
The main task of EUMM will be “to monitor, analyse and report” about the situation on the ground regarding compliance with the six-point plan, including troop withdrawals, freedom of movement and “actions by spoilers.”
EUMM is also tasked with monitoring human rights; civil governance; rule of law; law enforcement structures; security of transport links; energy infrastructure, as well as the political and security aspects of the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.
France will reportedly contribute most of the observers to the mission – 76, followed by Germany and Italy.
Also at the meeting in Brussels on September 15, the EU foreign ministers pledged EUR 500 million between 2008 and 2010 to help rebuild Georgian infrastructure.
EU also appointed as its special representative for Georgia crisis, Pierre Morel, who is currently the EU’s special representative for Central Asia and who served as French ambassador to Georgia in 1992-1993.