Office of the Spokesman
September 12, 2008
Question Taken at the September 12, 2008 Daily Press Briefing
Georgia: International Monitors
Question: Please provide a breakdown on the numbers of OSCE and EU monitors in Georgia. What is the effect of previous international agreements on the number of EU monitors that can be placed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia?Released on September 12, 2008
Answer: Currently there are 28 military observers in the OSCE Georgia Mission. Of these, 8 have been in place since this mission was created around 1992, with a mandate that has been regularly renewed by the OSCE participating states, including Russia. Twenty more monitors have been deployed as a result of the August 19, 2008 OSCE Permanent Council decision that authorized “up to 100 additional monitors.” Negotiations continue in Vienna on modalities for deploying 80 more monitors.
There are no EU monitors yet. An agreement on the creation of an EU mission was reached September 8 between Presidents Medvedev of Russia and Sarkozy of France. The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council is meeting on Monday, September 15 to authorize creation of the EU mission, which is supposed to deploy "at least 200" observers "no later than October 1," according to the September 8 Medvedev/Sarkozy agreement.
Under the September 8 agreement, UNOMIG monitors under the existing mandate and previous numbers should have access to Abkhazia, and OSCE monitors under the existing mandate and number of monitors should have access to South Ossetia. Access for the EU monitors is still under negotiation, but our European partners have expressed the belief that the agreement should not preclude access by the additional monitors to the breakaway territories.