Former French ambassador to Georgia, Philippe Lefort, has been appointed as EU’s special representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia.
In the capacity of EU’s special representative for South Caucasus, Lefort has replaced Swedish diplomat Peter Semneby, whose mandate ended in late February.
In the capacity of special representative for the crisis in Georgia – a mandate launched by EU after the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia – Lefort will be co-chairing Geneva talks together with two other co-mediators from OSCE and UN. In this capacity he will replace French diplomat Pierre Morel, whose mandate ends on August 31.
With 20 years of experience in foreign service, Philippe Lefort was French ambassador in Georgia in 2004-2007 and served as deputy head of mission at the French Embassy in Russia in 2007-2010. Since 2010 he led Continental Europe General Directorate at the French Foreign Ministry.
“I am very pleased that we are appointing Philippe Lefort to this important position. Philippe Lefort has an in-depth knowledge of the region and years of experience working there at the very highest level,” EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said in a statement on August 26.
EU said Lefort’s mandate includes the development of contacts with governments, parliaments, other key political actors, the judiciary and civil society in the region; encouraging the countries in the region to cooperate on regional themes of common interest, such as common security threats, the fight against terrorism, illicit trafficking and organized crime; and contributing to the peaceful settlement of conflicts in accordance with the principles of international law.