Russia did little in 2012 to help solve protracted conflicts beyond agreeing to a formal re-launch of the 5+2 negotiation format. Europeans could do little except issue statements.
In 2011, Germany’s Meseberg initiative offered Russia establishment of a joint EU–Russia Political and Security Committee in exchange for Moscow’s constructive approach to Transnistrian conflict settlement. However, Russia did little in 2012 to help solve the conflict beyond agreeing to a formal re-launch of the 5+2 negotiation format. By appointing the eccentric former ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin as Russia’s envoy to Transnistria and chairman of the Moldovan-Russian economic commission, Moscow signalled that it was not interested in real progress. Russia was even less constructive on the resolution of Georgia’s separatist conflicts: Moscow continued to increase its military and political presence in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on the new Georgian government to recognise the independence of both entities. There was no progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict either – in fact, tensions continue to escalate. Unlike the EU, Russia recognised the outcomes of the presidential elections in South Ossetia and parliamentary elections in Abkhazia earlier this year.
Since the EU is not part of the negotiations framework, it was unable to do much beyond issuing statements calling on both parties to solve the conflict peacefully. The Safarov affair (see component 51) tainted the image not just of Hungary but of the whole EU as an impartial side in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Europeans remained united, but except on Transnistria, where Germany has taken the initiative in recent years, they invested little political attention into solving these conflicts. On the other hand, the EU continued to fund its border-assistance mission to Moldova and Ukraine (to help improve management of their border, which includes the separatist region of Transnistria) as well as the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia (where many member states stationed their staff). However, the EU has thus far been unable to persuade Moscow and the secessionist authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to allow access of EUMM to these regions.