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In Quotes: International Reaction to Russia’s Abkhaz, S.Ossetian Move
/ 18 Apr.'08 / 19:32

Below is an international reaction in quotes to Russia’s decision to establish legal links with Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia:

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General:
“I am deeply concerned by the actions Russia has taken to establish legal links with the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia... The Russian steps undermine that [Georgia's] sovereignty. I urge the Russian Federation to reverse these measures, and call on the Georgian authorities to continue to show restraint.” Full Text

Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State:
We are very concerned about the [Russian] presidential decree that was issued... The United States is absolutely committed to the territorial integrity of Georgia. We believe that there should be an effort to carry out the plans that the Georgians have talked about to try and deal with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Obviously, the people of those regions need to have a good life and Georgia needs to provide for them. But we are very concerned at the steps that have been taken and we have made our views known to the Russian Government. Full Text

Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania:
“Such actions destabilise situation and threaten security and stability in the whole region. I urge Russia to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and to continue dialogue with Georgia’s government in Tbilisi... I encourage EU governing bodies and EU Member States to have and state their clear position regarding Russia's actions.” Full Text

Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden:
“News that Moscow will be taking a number of measures to establish closer ties with the Georgian areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is deeply disquieting… If measures are now taken that create the impression that this [Georgia’s] territorial integrity is in fact being violated - and with the aim of actually integrating these areas with Russia - it may have serious consequences. A political conflict in the immediate neighbourhood of the future winter Olympics is not in anyone's interest - least of all Russia's.” Full Text

Alexander Stubb, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Minister:
“I urge all parties involved to refrain from any unilateral actions which could further destabilize the already tense situation. I call on the parties to look for ways to build confidence and engage in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflicts.” Full Text

Julie Finley, U.S. ambassador to the OSCE:
“This move, coupled with Russia’s recent lifting of CIS sanctions that opens the possibility for military assistance to Abkhazia, has significantly increased tensions in an already volatile region... Russia is supposed to be facilitating a peace process in Georgia but is instead openly siding with the separatists, calling into question Russia’s facilitator role. We urge Russia to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to repeal the April 16th instructions, to play a constructive role in accordance with its commitment to act as a facilitator to the peace process, and to work with Georgia to encourage the Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders to engage on Georgia’s new proposals for a peaceful settlement of the conflicts as a basis for finding a way forward.” Full Text

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana's spokeswoman, Christina Gallach:
"We are concerned about these unilateral decisions, we have always supported Georgia's territorial integrity.. We have always believed that this type of conflict must be resolved through dialogue." Full Text

Sir Brian Fall, the UK Special Representative for the South Caucasus:
“The proposed package of Russian unilateral measures relating to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia, would only increase tensions in the region.” Full Text

Statement by the Bureau of the South Caucasus Delegation of the European Parliament:
“These steps undermine the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia, as stipulated by all relevant UN resolutions and question Russia’s role of the impartial moderator in the peace process. We are convinced that such steps will only increase tensions in the region and we hope that Georgia remains stable despite any provocation, as well as the UN becomes aware of negative consequences of Russian military presence there.” Full Text

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