By all accounts from Khanty-Mansiisk, however, Solana and the other EU leaders shied away from any substantive discussion of Abkhazia and the other post-Soviet conflicts. They also failed to raise the issue of transforming Russia’s “peace-keeping” operation to conform to international standards. Solana and several other top figures had given those informal assurances to Georgia on the understanding that Tbilisi would in turn refrain from declaring Russia’s “peace-keeping” troops illegal. These EU leaders’ authority in that regard will not be the same in Georgia after Khanty-Mansiisk.
According to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, one item on the summit agenda was the “five conflicts: Kosovo, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Karabakh, and Transnistria” [in that order] (RIA-Novosti, June 27). If so, Moscow succeeded for the first time to link the conflict in Kosovo with the four post-Soviet conflicts at this summit. Initial post-summit briefings in Brussels seem to confirm that the five conflicts were discussed as a package at Khanty-Mansiisk. Linking conflict resolution in the post-Soviet territories to that in Kosovo, so as to complicate all solutions even further, became Russia’s policy during the final stages of negotiations leading to Kosovo’s independence. It seems to have re-emerged in Khanty-Mansiisk in a modified form.