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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Sept 2, 2008

020908.jpgTODAY: EU summit “disappointing” / demonstrates “unity”. Talks on new EU agreement suspended until Russia withdraws troops from Georgia; 1 million-strong Georgian anti-Russia protest; Lavrov calls for arms embargo. Ingushetia website journalist’s funeral turns into a protest. Many are disappointed with the EU’s perceived lack of purpose with regard to Russia, although the BBC and the Guardian both portray yesterday’s summit – at least, when compared with the one held in 2003 – as a show of unity. “Some will be disappointed that strong words are not yet to be matched by actions, but there was clear conditionality.” Thanks to the “conciliatory” mood of states such as Germany, France and Italy, “no specific sanctions or punishments were even discussed”. This article says that one positive outcome of the summit is that EU observers will be sent to Georgia to monitor Russia’s compliance with the ceasefire. Nicolas Sarkozy will travel to Moscow next week for similar purposes. Britain and Poland are reportedly pushing for stronger actions, but measures such as sanctions were avoided, and talks on a new partnership agreement will be suspended until Russian troops pull out of Georgia. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband writes in today’s Moscow Times on the possibility of a new Cold War.

The funeral of Magomed Yevloyev, the anti-Kremlin journalist shot in Ingushetia, turned into a 1,000-strong protest. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is calling for an arms embargo against Tbilisi. Russia says it wants an international police presence in “security zones” along the line separating Georgia from its breakaway regions. Reports say that more than a million demonstrators – more than a fifth of the entire Georgian population – joined Georgian “Stop Russia” protests against military action.Could SCO states combine with the BRICs to create a rival to the G8? Dmitry Medvedev has met with the Armenian President to organize new bilateral cooperation projects and double Russian investment there.PHOTO: Georgians attend a protest rally in Tbilisi. The European Union on Monday froze talks with Moscow on closer ties until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia, as hundreds of thousands staged an anti-Russian rally in the Georgian capital. (AFP/Pool/Irakli Gedenidze)