Georgia Expected to Request Peacekeepers at Geneva Talks | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.11.2008
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Georgia Expected to Request Peacekeepers at Geneva Talks

Georgia is expected to ask for an international peacekeeping force in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during the second round of talks in the wake of its war with Russia this summer.

Russian soldiers with a Russian flag sit atop a tank

Will international peacekeepers soon replace Russian soldiers?

The Georgian Foreign Ministry wants the international troops to replace Russian forces currently in the areas, reported the RIA Novosti news service.

Georgia is also expected to ask during talks on Wednesday, Nov. 19, for a Russian troop withdrawal from areas where it says the Russian forces are in violation of a French-brokered ceasefire.

South Ossetia, for its part, accused Georgia over the weekend of violating the agreement and firing at a sentry post inside the rebel region.

Russia, which has recognized South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's unilateral declarations of independence, said it was placing 3,800 troops in each region to protect the local populations from Georgian attacks.

The second round of talks is scheduled to occur in working groups, with no plenary meeting planned.

Fruitless talks

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations, Austrian Benita Ferrero-Waldner, pose during a meeting on the eve of the Caucasus talks last month

Mediators haven't been able to get all the parties to sit down in the same room

The first round of UN-sponsored talks last month ended with both sides accusing the other of walking out. Moscow has refused to conduct direct negotiations with Tbilisi.

Last month's talks were also attended by the United States, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the leaders of the two breakaway regions.

Russia and Georgia waged a five-day war in August when Russia invaded South Ossetia in response to Georgian efforts to impose its rule there.

Saakashvili in Bavaria

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili meanwhile is to make a stopover in Munich, Germany, Thursday to meet with Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, German officials reported on Tuesday.

The visit is part of a European tour includes a speech to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Valencia, Spain on Tuesday. Saakashvili has been seeking European support in his ongoing struggle with Russia.

Bavarian officials said Saakashvili's visit is for the opening of Georgia's first honorary consulate-general in Munich, opened by Bavarian industrialist Claus Hipp. The opening was to have been in August, but was delayed by the outbreak of Georgia's war with Russia.

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