Estonian diplomat Toivo Klaar, who is set to become the European Union’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, made his first public appearance in his forthcoming capacity.
Toivo Klaar, who will represent the European Union in the Geneva International Discussions (GID), addressed the OSCE Permanent Council on November 2 together with two other co-chairs - Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Guenther Baechler and United Nations Representative Antti Turunen.
Special Representative-designate stressed in his remarks that the GID, a multilateral mediation forum to address security and humanitarian consequences of the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs), regularly held in Gali and Ergneti, are very important tools that “create a sense of accountability for the participants,” since “all crucial issues are brought up” during the talks.
Toivo Klaar, who served as the head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) in 2013-2014, also emphasized that, besides security matters, issues related to fundamental human rights and the humanitarian impact on the populations are now “even higher on the agenda of the GID.”
Other matters discussed during the co-chairs’ address were a statement on non-use of force and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, both of which are covered during the GID meetings.
The U.S. Mission to OSCE delivered a statement in response to the co-chairs’ address, congratulating Klaar on his forthcoming appointment, and also noting that the discussions “are critical to enhancing security, stability, and respect for human rights in Georgia, and as a means towards resolving the 2008 conflict.”
“Through the Geneva format, the OSCE, the EU, and the UN play an invaluable role in monitoring the security situation, human rights, and the humanitarian conditions in the conflict-affected regions,” reads the statement.
The U.S. Mission urged Russia to withdraw its forces to pre-war positions per the 2008 ceasefire agreement and to reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It also voiced concern about Russia’s “ongoing provocative actions to exert influence over the regions.”
Toivo Klaar will replace Herbert Salber, who left the post in August, less than two months after his remarks in Tskhinvali were met with furious criticism from Georgian officials and opposition politicians.
Before joining the European Commission in 2005, Klaar held various positions in the Estonian civil service, serving as foreign policy advisor to the Estonian President in 1999-2001, director general for political affairs in the Estonian Foreign Ministry and advisor to the Minister of Defense.
Toivo Klaar then served as the head of European Commission Representation to Estonia in 2005-2010 before becoming the head of a European Commission unit dealing with coordination and management of the establishment of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which he later joined as the head of the Division for Human Resources Policy and Coordination.