European Union (EU) foreign ministers agreed Saturday to send an observer mission to Georgia to monitor the implementation of a peace plan between the Caucasian country and Russia.
"We will have an observer mission in Georgia," EU foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana said at the end of an informal EU foreign ministers' meeting.
Such a mission would be the EU's first in Caucasus, although it has had experience in the Balkans, noted Solana.
He said a formal decision is expected at a formal foreign ministers' meeting on Sept. 15. The decision will take into account the results of a planned trip to Moscow and Tbilisi Mondayby French President Nicolas Sarkozy, European Commission President Manuel Barroso as well as Solana.
The aim of the trip is to persuade Russia into withdrawing its troops to pre-conflict positions.
The size of the observer mission is yet to be decided. But there are words that its staff could be in hundreds.
Russia has refused to allow Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers to re-enter South Ossetia after the Georgia-Russia conflict.
Georgia launched a sudden attack in South Ossetia on Aug. 7 in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region. Tbilisi's move triggered prompt reaction from Russia, whose troops drove Georgian forces out of the region.
Moscow last week recognized South Ossetia and another breakaway region of Abkhazia as independent states, a move that further angered the West.