Ukraine is ready to send peacekeepers to Georgia’s conflict zones, but “a relevant mandate” and the will of all parties is necessary, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko said ahead of an official visit to Georgia scheduled for March 1-2, according to Civil Georgia.

      “Ukraine is ready to contribute productively to the peacekeeping operation in order to settle the conflicts. In this regard we find it very important that the sides express such a will and that a relevant mandate is formed,” Yushchenko said in an interview with Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 television broadcast on February 27.

      EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said after talks with Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili in Brussels on February 26 that the EU is ready to contribute to the peacekeeping operation in Georgia’s conflict zones, but a clear and achievable objective is needed for a mission of this kind.

      On February 27 President Saakashvili said that he has discussed the issue with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso as well.

      “We have discussed this with European Commission President, talking about the possibility of broadening and changing the format and basically putting more European presence on the ground, and this is a big development, this is big news - nobody would have even talked about it just one year ago,” President Saakashvili said at a joint news conference with Commission President Barroso in Brussels on February 27.

      Also on February 27, visiting Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said in Tbilisi that the possible participation of her country in peacekeeping operations in Georgia largely depends on a mandate for the operation.

      “Poland always operates within an international mandate, whether it is United Nations or NATO,” Anna Fotyga said at a joint news conference with her Georgian counterpart Gela Bezhuashvili in Tbilisi.

      She also said that it will also require a “detailed debate” in the Polish government before a final decision is made.

      Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili said recently that the replacement of the current Russian-dominated peacekeeping and negotiating formats for Abkhazia and South Ossetia with “neutral international” arrangements “is not an easy task” but it is realistic.