EU foreign ministers to visit Georgia: EU source

A group of European Union foreign ministers will go to Georgia next week, a source in the bloc's presidency said on Friday, amid rising tension between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

EU foreign ministers to visit Georgia: EU source
"We expect the Slovenian, Swedish, Polish and Lithuanian foreign ministers to go to Georgia on Monday," the source said.

A Swedish diplomat confirmed that Sweden's Carl Bildt would be in the group.

The EU and NATO said last week that Russia had fuelled tensions by deploying extra troops in Abkhazia. The Black Sea region broke away from Tbilisi in a war after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and is now the focus of a bitter row between Russia and Georgia..

Georgia says Russia's move to send more troops there risks sparking an all-out conflict.

Russian soldiers patrol land between Georgian and Abkhazian forces under the terms of a 1994 U.N.-organised ceasefire and Moscow says it is reinforcing numbers there in response to the risk of an attack by Georgia on the region.

Tension has risen further with reports by the Abkhazian leadership that Abkhazian forces have shot down Georgian spy drones over their territory.

Georgia itself is at the centre of a tussle for influence between the United States and Russia over the Caucasus -- a volatile, mountainous region which hosts a major pipeline pumping oil from Asia to Europe.

Relations between the West and Russia are further strained by moves by Georgia's pro-Western leadership to join the U.S.-led NATO alliance.

EU foreign ministers will travel to Georgia from Lithuania where they will try to resolve a dispute blocking the launch of talks on a new EU cooperation pact with Moscow.

Reuters
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2008, 14:37
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