Meanwhile, the European Union is preparing to voice “grave concern” over Russia’s economic blockade of Georgia and its recent mass expulsions of Georgians, in a declaration to be adopted at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on October 17 - the declaration is likely to be “sharply critical” of Russia:
October 13, 2006 — The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission in Georgia by six months.
The resolution also urged Georgia to refrain from provocative actions toward its breakaway region of Abkhazia.
The resolution reaffirms a commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also “urges the Georgian side to address seriously legitimate Abkhaz security concerns, to avoid steps which could be seen as threatening and to refrain from militant rhetoric and provocative actions.”
The current text with its sharp criticism of Russian measures was backed by the EU’s Nordic, Baltic, and some Central European member states. While the Czech Republic was said to be its formal initiator, a major influence behind the draft declaration appears to have been Sweden’s new Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. Bildt served as Swedish Prime Minister in the 1990s and afterwards became active in conflict resolution issues in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. The draft declaration was opposed by Italy, Greece, and Portugal — countries traditionally friendly towards Russia. Significantly, however, both Germany and France — usually also advocates of a softer EU line towards Russia — remained outside the fray.