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Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 11:36 UK

In quotes: Strife in Georgia

Russia and Georgia have blamed each other for the conflict over South Ossetia. World powers have been giving their reaction.

GEORGIAN PRESIDENT MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI

This is the most surreal world crisis I could ever imagine and it's very unfortunate that it is happening in my country.

I insist that it's happening unprovoked by us, and I insist that it was all pre-planned.

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV

The ferocity in which the actions of the Georgian side were carried out cannot be called anything else but genocide, because they acquired a mass character and were directed against individuals, the civilian population, peacekeepers who carried out their functions of maintaining peace.

The information we're receiving testifies to the fact that the gravest crimes were committed.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV

What happened this night was actually an aggression of the Georgian troops against the South Ossetian people, against Russian peacekeepers and it was outrageous that Georgian peacekeepers - part of the same contingent with Russian peacekeepers were firing at their comrades.

It was absolutely unacceptable to see residential quarters shelled, to see a humanitarian convoy bombed from the air, many villages are being attacked by Georgian troops using artillery, tanks, including villages outside the conflict zone.

Those who are responsible for the loss of life will not avoid justice.

UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

A spokesman said:
The secretary general is alarmed by the escalation of hostilities in Georgia which have resulted in large numbers of casualties and massive destruction in South Ossetia and other regions of Georgia.

NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER

A statement said:
He is seriously concerned about the disproportionate use of force by the Russians and the lack of respect for the territorial integrity of Georgia.

The military operations that we saw on Saturday and since then, including air and missile attacks, have no relation to and go well beyond the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] peacekeeping operation.

US PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH

I said this violence is unacceptable - I not only said it to Vladimir Putin, I've said it to the president of the country, Dmitry Medvedev.

I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia.

US AMBASSADOR TO THE UN ZALMAY KHALILZAD

This is completely unacceptable and crosses the line. Russia must affirm that its aim is not to change the democratically-Georgia and that it accepts that territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

US PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL JOHN McCAIN

Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.

What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave.

The US should immediately convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council to call on Russia to reverse course.

The international community needs to establish a truly independent and neutral peacekeeping force in South Ossetia.

US PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL BARACK OBAMA

I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict.

Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war.

Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected.

All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

THE EUROPEAN UNION

A statement said:
The European Commission is extremely concerned at the reports of heavy fighting in the South Ossetian conflict zone and deplores the loss of lives. The European Commission calls for an immediate end to hostilities, and for a swift return to negotiations in the framework of existing formats.

The EU stands ready to increase its contribution to conflict resolution in Georgia with confidence-building measures.

OSCE CHAIRMAN ALEXANDER STUBB

The intense fighting in the South Ossetian conflict zone risks escalation into a full-fledged war. War would have a devastating impact for the entire region.

I urge the Georgians, South Ossetians and Russians to cease fire, end military action and stop further escalation. We need to pull back from the brink of a fully-fledged war.

What we have called for basically is three things: One is the territorial integrity of Georgia, two is for a ceasefire and then three is of course for peace negotiations.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

A spokesman said:
The chancellor expressed once again her great concern about the further escalation of the situation in Georgia and the dramatic consequences for the suffering civilian population.

She issued an urgent call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER

We must talk about negotiations and political settlement, there is no military settlement.

We must act quickly. It is not a diplomatic exercise, it is an exercise in survival.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

A spokesman said:
We will continue to press for international action to help bring the conflict to an end and we urge both parties to agree an immediate ceasefire.

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND

The offer of a ceasefire by the Georgian government is very welcome. We now look to the Russian Government to accept this offer and agree to an immediate ceasefire, in line with its international commitments to respect Georgian territorial integrity.

At the UN, the EU and the OSCE the UK will lend its strong support to all those committed to a swift resolution to the conflict.

POLISH PRESIDENT LECH KACZYNSKI

A statement said:
The president believes that any interference in internal matters of the republic of Georgia is unacceptable and that any such action, if it intensifies, could lead to tragic consequences.




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