EU Extends Monitoring Mition in Georgia, Mulls US Participation

eu monitoring missionTBILISI (Eurasianet)–The European Union has prolonged by one year its Georgia-based monitoring mission (EUMM), the only international body observing the cease-fire between Georgia and Russia since last year’s war.

Georgian television channels reported on July 27 that the mission’s mandate was extended until September 14, 2010. Brussels said that the 246 European observers’ presence is vital to Georgia’s security and reiterated its call for the monitors to be allowed access into the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

No decision was made about the inclusion of US monitors in the mission. The United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have all expressed interest in allowing third-party countries, such as the US, Turkey and Canada, to join the EUMM, the EUObserver has reported.

Tbilisi has asked for the US to join the mission to provide an additional check against Russian moves into Georgian territory. Washington has not excluded such a possibility.

A decision is not expected before September, when EU institutions end their summer vacation, according to the EUObserver.

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