EU Snubs Talks on New Russia Pact

Retaliation for invasion of Georgia
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2008 3:19 AM CDT
People form human chains in protest against Russia in Tbilisi, Georgia.   (AP Photo/George Abdaladze)
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(Newser) – Europe has backed out of talks on a new partnership agreement with Russia in the wake of the invasion of Georgia, the BBC reports.  The decision followed an emergency European summit in Brussels. The commission president said Europe could not continue with negotiations "as if nothing had happened." Talks will be suspended until Russia withdraws completely from Georgia, and the EU is prepared to send hundreds of civilians to Georgia to monitor the ceasefire agreement, said an official.

Reaction from Russia was swift. "It is more of a self-punishment for the European Union because this does not improve the EU's credibility as a negotiating partner," said an official. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier warned the EU and the US that further support for Georgia would be a "historic" mistake.