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EU Special Envoy to Visit Sokhumi
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Mar.'10 / 12:40

EU’s Special Representative for South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, is expected to arrive in breakaway Abkhazia on Thursday evening.

Meetings with Abkhaz leader Sergey Bagapsh; parliamentary speaker Nugzar Ashuba and the breakaway region’s PM Sergey Shamba are planned on March 12.

According to a recent report on Abkhazia by Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group (ICG), in December, 2009 EU’s Political and Security Committee agreed a "non-paper on the parameters for EU’s non-recognition and engagement policy for Abkhazia and South Ossetia" aimed at carving out political and legal space within which the EU can interact with the breakaway regions “without crossing status red lines, thus emphasising a strategic interest to engage so as to increase its leverage to move conflict resolution forward.”

According to the same report European Commission officials who visited Abkhazia in January, 2010 “felt their [Abkhaz] interlocutors were keen to continue and deepen cooperation that can promote development, such as with small- and medium-sized enterprises.”

But citing a position of unnamed “prominent” Abkhaz opposition figure, the report also says that not all Abkhazians share the Abkhaz government’s “generally positive view” towards EU member states, largely because they are seen as “pro-Georgian”.

In its report the International Crisis Group recommended EU to “continue or renew contacts with authorities and civil society groups in Abkhazia – including by traveling there – without implying legitimisation or recognition of Abkhazia as an independent state or otherwise undermining Georgian sovereignty.”

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