CONFLICT SETTLEMENT PROCESS IN SOUTH OSSETIA
Letter from Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, Minister
for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Chairman
I am writing to let you and your Committee know
of our plans to agree a Joint Action in support of the conflict
settlement process in South Ossetia, Georgia, on 27 June. This
will, unfortunately, constitute an override of parliamentary scrutiny.
The current EU Joint Action regarding this commitment expires
on 30 June 2006. The EU plans to adopt a renewal Joint Action
to give financial assistance to the OSCE Mission to Georgia to
fund the operation of the Joint Control Commission (JCC) on 27
June. The JCC is the main framework and forum for the conflict
settlement process in South Ossetia, the separatist Georgian region.
The new Joint Action will finance meetings of the JCC and other
JCC framework mechanisms, provide for the organisation of JCC
conferences and supply running costs for the two Secretariats
for one year.
The EU's assistance has reinforced efforts to
help resolve this conflict, ensuring the continued functioning
of both the Georgian and South Ossetian Secretariats (run under
the aegis of the OSCE) and the JCC. The OSCE and both Georgian
and South Ossetian JCC co-Chairs have requested this follow-up
assistance from the EU. We attach considerable importance to the
conflict resolution process in South Ossetia. Tensions between
the Georgian government and South Ossetia have in the past led
to military clashes. These problems have the potential to involve
others such as Russia.
Recent redistribution of EU responsibilities
inside the FCO and staffing problems have caused the delayed deposit
of this Memorandum to your Committee. I apologise for this and
assure you that measures are being taken to prevent this occurring
again. So that the JCC continues to receive funding, and given
the importance of this ongoing conflict resolution process, I
hope your Committee will understand that I am reluctant to ask
the Council to postpone the Council's decision until after scrutiny
has been completed.
21 June 2006