The French EU presidency has expressed “grave concern” over the increased tensions in the South Ossetian conflict zone.
“The European Union is willing, more than ever, to fully engage in the pursuit of a peaceful settlement of the conflicts in Georgia, in cooperation with the parties concerned and in support of the existing negotiation formats, and again calls for moderation and the swift resumption of the negotiations,” it said in a statement released on August 5.
"Existing negotiating formats" refers to the quadripartite Joint Control Commission (JCC), which Tbilisi is boycotting as part in an attempt to undermine Russia’s dominant role in the peace process.
The EU statement signals no change in the EU position on the matter.
At a special session of the OSCE Permanent Council on July 14 in Vienna, EU and U.S. delegations differed sharply on the format resumed negotiations between Tbilisi and Tskhinvali should take.
While the EU statement called for the resumption of talks “without further delay, and the use of all negotiating formats - including the JCC,” the U.S. statement called for talks involving the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian provisional administration, led by Dimitry Sanakoev. The latter is denounced by Tskhinvali and Moscow as Tbilisi’s “puppet.”