NATO, EU Call Emergency Talks over Georgia-Russia Crisis | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.08.2008

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NATO, EU Call Emergency Talks over Georgia-Russia Crisis

NATO and the EU have crisis meetings of senior officials to discuss a joint response to the conflict between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway South Ossetian province, diplomats said.

Russian and EU flags

The EU has offered financial aid to civilian victims of the conflict

High-level officials from NATO's 26 member states are set to hold emergency talks on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12, at the alliance's Brussels headquarters, sources within the organization told DPA news agency.

Among the representatives are expected be several ambassadors of member states, who have been called back from their traditional August holidays to deal with the crisis.

On Wednesday the foreign ministers of the EU's 27 member states are also set to hold emergency talks on the situation.

That meeting was called by the French government, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, on Sunday.

EU pledges aid to civilians

Also on Sunday, the EU offered 1 million euros ($1.5 million dollars) in emergency aid to the victims of fighting in the conflict.

The aid is meant to "help cover the urgent humanitarian needs of thousands of civilians affected by the fighting in the region of South Ossetia and beyond in Georgia," a statement from the European Commission said.

The support is meant to cover emergency medical assistance, water and sanitation, food and non-food items like blankets, clothes, kitchen sets, emergency shelter and protection, according to the statement.

Proposal for EU peacekeeping force

Both the EU and NATO have said that they are "deeply concerned" by the outbreak of fighting between Georgian and Russian troops in South Ossetia.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, whose country is a member of both organizations, has proposed that the EU send a peacekeeping force to South Ossetia -- something Georgian officials have also suggested in recent months.

NATO leaders in April promised that Georgia would one day join the alliance, despite Russian opposition. As a result, observers say that Russia would be highly unlikely to accept any NATO involvement in peace negotiations, but might possibly accept a role for the EU.

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