Europe wants to work with U.S. on Georgia: minister

A025560412.jpgCERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) – The European Union wants to work closely with the United States in resolving the Georgian crisis, Italy’s foreign minister said after meeting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday.

The United States and Europe have demanded that Russia pull forces out of Georgia as set out in a French-brokered peace agreement, but Moscow has not yet fully complied.

On Saturday, Cheney delivered the sharpest U.S. criticism of Russia since its brief war last month with Georgia, accusing Moscow of reverting to Cold War tactics of intimidation.

“The most important element that I think I can bring you is the common wish, the vice president’s and mine, for an intense collaboration between Europe and the United States,” Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters after meeting Cheney on the margins of an economic conference.

“This Caucasian crisis won’t be resolved if there is not an intense collaboration, that Europe wishes for, that the United States wishes for, and we will carry out,” he said.

Frattini said he had also laid out for Cheney the EU’s move to raise pressure on Russia to pull back its troops in Georgia by agreeing plans to dispatch up to 200 civilian monitors there as early as next month.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Moscow on Monday to tell Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to stick to the terms of an accord to end the conflict or risk harming ties with the EU. Moscow insists it is abiding by the agreement.

The conflict erupted early in August when Georgia tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia responded by sending tanks and troops into Georgian territory.

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