GEF @ 6:38 PM ET
This is due to an earlier story about the Russians Destroying a BP Oil Pipeline thereby hindering supplies to Europe.
As Russian troops and tanks advance further into Georgian territory, officials from NATO and the EU scheduled talks over the war in the Caucasus to show they can make a difference in their own backyard.
Pleading for a hands-on approach from NATO and the European Union, Salome Samadashvili, Georgia’s ambassador to the EU, told journalists in Brussels on Monday, Aug. 11, that the organizations “need to show that there will be a political cost for this action in terms of the relationship of the Russian Federation with its Western partners,” DPA news agency reported.
“Either we find a way to respond to (Russia’s military action) together or we have to live with the decision that we will face a different world tomorrow,” she added.
Georgian forces retreated on Monday to Tbilisi from other parts of the country in order to defend the capital.
“The invading army of the Russian Federation has entered Georgian territory outside the conflict zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Georgian government said in a statement. “The Georgian army is retreating to defend the capital. The government is urgently seeking international intervention to prevent the fall of Georgia and the further loss of life.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday said Russia had no plans for its forces to advance on Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, Interfax news agency reported.
“We do not have and have never had any plans to advance on Tbilisi,” the news agency quoted an unnamed defence ministry official as saying. “Clearly the Georgian leadership is gripped by panic.”
The United Nations Security Council said it would meet Monday to discuss the fighting between Russia and Georgia. The Council is working to agree on a joint statement for a resolution. It’s the fifth round of emergency talks since the fighting started.
In light of the need for action, both the 26-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the 27-member EU are now under intense pressure to come up with a reaction that goes beyond diplomatic rhetoric, which has thus far been unable to quell the recent outbreak of hostilities in Georgia.
West unable to force Russia’s hand
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Saakashvili said Moscow is attempting to take over Georgia
European diplomats met Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi on Monday and convinced him to sign a draft cease-fire agreement.
Russia, however, immediately pushed aside the notion of such a cease-fire agreement before even receiving it, insisting that the Georgian military was ignoring its own self-declared cease-fire and had attacked the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali.
Saakashvili called on the West to provide more than words of support and emergency aid to Georgia.
“So far we have got from them moral support and humanitarian aid, but we need more than that to stop this barbaric aggression,” he said in a televised address Monday. “The majority of Georgia’s territory is occupied.”
On Wednesday, the conflict will come under the scrutiny of EU foreign ministers, who will be briefed by their colleague Bernard Kouchner, who has been visiting the region on behalf of the French presidency of the EU.
About 25,000 refugees from South Ossetia’s population of 70,000 have fled north and are living in camps and hostels in Valdikavkaz. Some 2,000 refugees, among them foreigners, fled Georgia into Armenia, the Interfax news agency reported.
EU officials will also discuss a call from Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania for the EU to dispatch peacekeepers to Georgia.
Germany-Russia economic ties potential barrier
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Economic ties between Russia and Germany could be a sticking point in negotiations
However — just as at NATO, which has scheduled talks with Russia for Tuesday — those discussions are likely to be complicated by Germany’s reluctance to endanger its strong commercial ties with Russia.
Germany is already Russia’s number one trading partner, with an annual turnover of $53 billion (34 billion euros). Germany also depends on Russia for oil and gas, and the countries are building a joint pipeline for future deliveries under the Baltic Sea.
Around 4,500 German companies have set up shop in Russia and constitute a key part of the economic relationship between the two nations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had planned to travel to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday for talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Those talks had been scheduled before the current round of fighting erupted.
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