U.S. President George W. Bush warned Russia to reverse its course in Georgia, otherwise he warned its actions would jeopardize Moscow’s relations with the U.S. and EU.
“I am deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the [South Ossetian] zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori and are threatening Georgia's capital of Tbilisi,” he said in a special statement from the White House.
“There is evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city. If these reports are accurate, these Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia.”
He said that these actions were inconsistent with “the assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring status quo in South Ossetia, that existed before the fighting began on August 6.”
“It now appears that an effort may be underway to depose [Georgia's] duly elected government. Russia has invaded the sovereign neighboring state and threatens the democratic government elected by its people,” he said. “Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.”
He said that Tbilisi had already accepted accepted the basis of a peace agreement that the Russian government previously said it would be willing to accept, too.
The proposal involves:
• An immediate ceasefire;
• Withdrawal of forces from the zone of conflict;
• A return to the military status quo as of August 6;
• Commitment not to use force;
Bush said that the French and Finnish foreign ministers, after traveling to Georgia, were in Moscow, seeking Russia’s agreement on this peace plan.
“Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on and accept this peace agreement as a first step towards resolving this conflict,” he said. “Russia’s actions have substantially damaged Russia’s standing in the world and these actions jeopardize Russia’s relations with the United States and Europe.”