EU Struggles to Reach Consensus on Russia Ahead of Summit

While European Union monitors have confirmed that Russia completed their withdrawal from buffer zones outside of South Ossetia and Abkhazia under the terms of last month’s agreement, the EU has not resumed negotiations on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia, despite assurances that they would as soon as Russian troops “withdrew from their positions inside Georgia, with the exception of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

To many EU member nations, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, the agreed-to pullout is no longer enough. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet cites several new demands, including reducing the number of troops Russia is allowed to keep in the breakaway enclaves and allowing EU monitors access to the newly independent regions.

The talks held today in Luxembourg failed to resolve the issue, with nations like Italy and Germany urging for the PCA talks to resume as soon as possible. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who chaired the meeting, said he could not “flag up a date for resuming negotiations.”

The PCA talks were put on hold at the behest of Britain and other member nations in the wake of the brief August war between Russia and Georgia. If the EU nations cannot reach an agreement on the PCA in the next month, it is likely to harm the prospects for the planned EU-Russia summit to be held November 14 in Nice.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.