Herbert Salber, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, held talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua on May 19, two days after the Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned the European Union Ambassador Janos Herman over the Special Representative’s statements in Tskhinvali the previous day.
Herbert Salber, who co-chairs the Geneva International Discussions (GID) on behalf of the European Union, visited Tskhinvali on May 16 along with the GID co-chairs from the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and congratulated the region’s new leader Anatoly Bibilov on winning the April 9 presidential polls, causing ire across Georgian political spectrum.
In a video released by the Georgian Foreign Affairs Ministry after Salber’s talkswith Deputy Minister Dondua, the EU Special Representative told the reporters that the two diplomats “discussed the issues that are known to you.” “I would like to clarify in this respect the following: the European Union fully supports and stands behind the territorial integrity of Georgia. This is for us a very clear principle, which we support and I, as the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, of course, support this principle. I make this clear on each and every occasion,” the Special Representative stated. Salber spoke on the recent election in Tskhinvali as well. “With regards to the elections in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia,” he stated, “the European Union has made clear that it does not recognize the framework in which these elections took place. I also stand fully behind this principle.” “At the same time, the European Union is committed to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Salber went on. “That is why, the European Union and also I, myself, personally are involved in the Geneva International discussions that are ongoing. This is the core of my mandate that I am decided to fulfil.” Davit Dondua, who spoke after the meeting as well, said that the two touched upon “the recent developments, which followed [Salber’s] visits to Tskhinvali.” The Deputy Minister added that it is “very important, to do everything so that a shadow is not cast on the bilateral and multilateral formats, processes and institutions, which have crucial importance for Georgia and which are playing a very important role for maintaining peace, democracy and for Georgia’s development in general.”