The smaller countries with a history of bad experiences with Russia are telling the others to be more cautious….
Russian soldiers ride by an APC in the village of Nabakevi outside the town of Gal. Russia Tuesday declared its opposition to deploying European Union monitors in Georgia’s rebel provinces, while Russian rights groups reported pillaging in Georgian border villages.(AFP/Ibragim Chkadua)
VILNIUS (AFP)–There should be no European Union talks with Russia until it fully respects the ceasefire with Georgia, the leaders of Lithuania and Poland insisted Monday.
In a joint statement, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and his Polish opposite number Lech Kaczynski, said they were “deeply concerned with the lack of will on the Russian side.”
Adamkus and Kaczynski highlighted a failure to respect ceasefire clauses covering the withdrawal of Russian troops to pre-conflict positions and on free access to humanitarian aid.
Both Lithuania and Poland are staunch allies of Georgia’s pro-Western leadership.
Adamkus and Kaczynski called for the ceasefire to be “internationally observed and verified” by both the E.U. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Monitors should be given unfettered access to the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow has recognized as independent states. E.U. monitors have so far been unable to gain access to the territories.
And they also drew attention to what they said were the increasing numbers of Russian troops in the region.
Although the E.U. brokered the ceasefire that ended the brief conflict between Georgia and Russia in August, the diplomatic aftermath has divided E.U. member states.
Some western member states, anxious not to antagonize Russia with a tough stance, have suggested that the current Russian pull-back has been sufficient.
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