An extraordinary European Union summit ended in Brussels on Monday without sanctions against Russia though the 27-nation bloc managed to speak in one voice in condemning Russia and urging it to fully implement a cease-fire deal with Georgia.
After a few hours of discussion on the situation in Georgia, a concluding document from the meeting said that the crisis in Georgia "puts the relationship between the EU and Russia at a crossroads."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L front) enters the venue for a special EU summit on Georgia with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (R front) at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Sep, 1, 2008. [Xinhua Photo]
"The European Council considers that given the interdependence between the EU and Russia, as well as global problems they face, there is no desirable alternative to a strong relationship based on cooperation, trust and dialogue, respect for the rule of law and principles recognized by the Charter of United Nations and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe)," it said.
The leaders of the 27 EU members urged Russia not to isolate itself from Europe and act for "mutual benefit, understanding and cooperation."
It said the union "will remain vigilant, the European Council asks the council, with the commission, to conduct a careful in-depth examination of the situation and of the various aspects of the EU-Russia relations."
This evaluation must begin now and continue in the run-up to the forthcoming summit scheduled to take place in Nice on Nov. 14.
Nicholas Sarkozy, together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and top diplomat Javier Solana will visit Moscow on Sept. 8 to "continue discussions toward a full implementation of the agreement on six points" with Russian leaders.
"Until troops have withdrawn to the positions held prior to Aug.7, meetings on the negotiation of the Partnership Agreement will be postponed," said the document.
Shelving divisions on sanctions against Russia, the EU members strongly condemned "the unilateral decision of Russia to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," saying that the decision was unacceptable, calling on other states not to recognize the independence of the two regions.