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EU appoints new representative for South Caucasus and Crisis in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 16
The European Union (EU) has appointed Estonian diplomat, Toivo Klaar, as a new Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis. The decision was made by the Committee on Policy and Security.

Klaar was appointed as the Head of Mission for the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) in 2013. Previously, from March 2012, he was the Head of Division for Human Resources Policy and Coordination in the European External Action Service (EEAS).

Prior to this, he was Head of Division for Resources and Planning in the EEAS and Head of Unit for Reform and Staff Resources of DG Relex of the European Commission, which was responsible for the management of the creation of the EEAS.

Prior to joining DG Relex, Klaar served as the first head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia from 2005 to 2010, and before this he held various positions in the Estonian civil service, including Foreign Policy Advisor to President Lennart Meri, Director General for Political Affairs and Director General for EU Affairs in the Foreign Ministry and Advisor to the Minister of Defense.

After his appointment in the new position, Toivo Klaar replaced the German diplomat and a Co-Chair of Geneva International Discussions, Herbert Salber who left the post in June 2017 after the diplomatic scandal regarding his visit and speech in Georgia’s Russian-backed occupied region of South Ossetia.

During his meeting with the de-facto authorities on May 16, 2017, Salber congratulated de facto President Anatoly Bibilov on his new ‘post’, taken after April 9, the so-called presidential elections. Salber also expressed his wish for further co-operation with the new ‘President’ of Georgia’s breakaway region.

His words caused criticism from Georgian diplomats, opposition parties and the public, who demanded sanctions against the German diplomat and his removal from the Geneva Talks, where Russia-Georgia conflict issues are usually discussed.

Later, the Georgian Foreign Ministry summoned Salber for an explanation. The diplomat said that the EU fully supports Georgia's territorial integrity and added he had the same position.