. The European Union’s presidency, currently held by Spain, yesterday issued a statement on the EU’s behalf, expressing deep concern over the Georgian officials’ statements. It called for an increased role by the EU in promoting democracy and human rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the establishment of a joint OSCE-UN office in each of those two areas, and reactivation of negotiations between Tbilisi and the two breakaway areas with am increased EU and OSCE contribution while recognizing Russia’s important role.
Russian Foreign Ministry officials responded September 21 that Georgia is within its rights to refuse the extension of "CIS" peacekeepers’ mandate, but it would have to do so through an official demarche rather than through political statements.(12)
The mandate of the nominally CIS peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia expires November 15, and that of the UN Observers’ Mission to Georgia (UNOMIG) ends in January 1996. Their withdrawal would be a prerequisite to any Georgian offensive. The Russian military have dismissed recent Abkhaz cries of alarm about a possible Russian-Georgian joint operation to restore Georgia’s territorial integrity, which the Russian military themselves ended in 1992-93 by supporting Abkhazia’s secession. The EU appears to see in these circumstances an opening for increased Western influence in shaping a political settlement.
Azerbaijan to Implement Partnership for Peace.