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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 17:20 UK

Georgia conflict: Key statements

Key quotes from the main players during the conflict between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

19 AUGUST 2008

Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
"Russia has to honour all points in the agreement reached by the European Union, OSCE and signed by President Medvedev and President Sarkozy. That means - and we do not see signals of that happening - that Russian troops will have to withdraw now to their pre-crisis positions. There can be no business as usual in our relations to and with the Russian Federation."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
"The [Nato] declaration above all appears unobjective and biased, because there's not a word about how all this started, why it happened, who started the aggressive action and who armed Georgia... It appears to me that Nato is trying to portray the aggressor as the victim, to whitewash a criminal regime and to save a failing regime."

17 AUGUST 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (according to Kremlin statement)
"From tomorrow, Russia will begin withdrawing its military forces that are supporting Russian peacekeepers... [Medvedev] underlined the need for the unconditional and strict fulfilment by the Georgian side of the return of its military units to their permanent positions."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
"I hope he intends to honour the pledge this time... people are going to begin to wonder if Russia can be trusted... Russia overreached, used disproportionate force against a small neighbour and is now paying the price for that because Russia's reputation as a potential partner in international institutions, diplomatic, political, security, economic, is frankly, in tatters."

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"One thing should be made very clear, Georgia will never give up any square kilometre of its territory, no matter what happens we will never reconcile with the fact of annexation or indeed separation of parts of territory from Georgia, with the attempts to legalise ethnic cleansing and with the attempts to bring Georgia to the knees and undermine our democratic system. "

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
"Georgia will become a member of Nato if it wants to - and it does want to."

16 AUGUST 2008

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on implementing the ceasefire agreement
"First and foremost, this concerns the taking of additional security measures by the Russian peacekeeping contingent, which will be reinforced. As these additional security measures are taken, there will be a withdrawal of units and sub-units of the Russian armed forces, which were brought into the South Ossetian conflict zone to compel the Georgian side to make peace. It was the Georgian side that unleashed aggressive actions against the South Ossetian people."

Letter from French President Nicolas Sarkozy to President Saakashvili released publicly on Saturday
"These 'additional security measures' can only be implemented in the immediate proximity of South Ossetia, to the exclusion of any other part of Georgian territory."

US President George W Bush
"The United States and her allies stand with the people of Georgia, and their democratically elected government. We insist that Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected, and Moscow must honour its pledge to withdraw all its invading forces from Georgian territory."

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"Russian army brought in a large number of irregulars, mercenaries. They go around drunk, aggressive, armed and do all these atrocities. The inability to give Georgia [Nato] membership action plan in April and even linking this with conflicts was clearly perceived by Russia as major sign of weakness and even from Russian point of view as appeasement of their worst instincts. If the free world┐ gives up on Georgia now, if the free world finally abandons us in this situation, I think this is going to have never-ending effects also for Nato countries, also for most of the European countries."

15 AUGUST 2008

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
"Georgia has been attacked. Russian forces need to leave Georgia at once. The world needs to help Georgia maintain its sovereignty, its territorial integrity and its independence. This is no longer 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia... when a great power invaded a small neighbour and overthrew its government. The free world will now have to wrestle with the profound implications of this Russian attack on its neighbour for security in the region and beyond."

US President George W Bush
"Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century. A contentious relationship with Russia is not in America's interest and a contentious relationship with America is not in Russia's interest. Moscow must honour its commitment to withdraw its invading forces from all Georgian territory. Only Russia can decide whether it will now put itself back on the path of responsible nations or continue to pursue a policy that promises only confrontation and isolation."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
"Russia does not reject the principle of territorial integrity but its foreign policy will take into account the will of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, who are unlikely to want to remain in the same state with Georgia. If someone continues to attack our citizens, our peacekeepers, then of course we will answer just as we did."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
"I found some of Russia's actions disproportionate and in particular think the presence of Russian troops in Georgia proper is not sensible - and so I believe that the six-point plan must be realised immediately and the Russian troops should withdraw from Georgia proper."

14 AUGUST 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
"We support any decision taken by the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in accordance with the charter of the United Nations, the 1966 international convention and the Helsinki Act on security in Europe. We don't just support this, but will guarantee them, both in the Caucasus and the world as a whole."

13 AUGUST 2008

US President George W Bush
"In recent years, Russia has sought to integrate into the diplomatic, political, economic, and security structures of the 21st Century. The United States has supported those efforts. Now Russia is putting its aspirations at risk by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent with the principles of those institutions. To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe, and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis."

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"We are living in an Orwellian world where the Russian Federation accuses Georgia of genocide and ethnic cleansing and meanwhile they are doing it exactly right now... There was a temporary ceasefire, that was the understanding. From this morning there is large-scale movement of Russian weapons, of shooting, of armed incidents, rampages through different towns and villages of Georgia... Russian troops are in the process of completing ethnic cleansing of all Georgian-populated areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
"The armed forces of the Russian Federation which were sent to South Ossetia to reinforce our peacekeeping forces, they will be withdrawn to Russian territory depending on the extent to which the Georgian troops go back to their barracks. Our peacekeepers will remain in South Ossetia.

"The only change relates to the fact that Georgian peacekeepers, who were part of the peacekeeping contingent, but turned out to be simply traitors and cowards and started shooting at their colleagues - of course, they are never again going to appear as part of a peacekeeping contingent in South Ossetia."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten a neighbour, occupy a capital, overthrow a government and get away with it. Things have changed... I have heard the Russian president say that his military operations are over. I am saying it is time for the Russian president to be true to his word."

12 AUGUST 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
At a news conference after agreeing a peace plan with France's President Sarkozy:
"The territorial integrity and belonging of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgia can never be put under doubt."

Earlier, in a television address:
"We are working with an international community, but all we got so far are just words, statements, moral support, humanitarian aid. But we need more - we want them to stop this barbaric aggressor.

"As you know the enclaves of South Ossetia previously controlled by the Georgian government and by local administration headed by ethnic Ossetian Dimitri Sanakoev has been ethnically cleansed by intruding Russian troops, and I get very worrying reports - some of them look to be unfortunately credible - of point-blank executions, on-sight killings, some people taken into some kind of camps or some internal places in Kurta and Vladikavkaz."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
"The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been restored. The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganised.

"You know, the difference between lunatics and other people is that when they smell blood it is very difficult to stop them. So you have to use surgery. As for claims by the Georgian president that the ceasefire has been observed for two days - that's a lie. Georgian forces continued to fire at peacekeepers, unfortunately people were killed yesterday. There was no ceasefire from the Georgian side."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy
"We don't yet have peace. But we have a provisional cessation of hostilities. And everyone should be aware that this is considerable progress."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
In comments by spokesman:
"We want to see the Russians stand down. What we're calling on is for Russia to stop its aggression."

11 AUGUST 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"[Russia's actions amount to the] pre-planned, cold-blooded murder of a country."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
"They [the Americans] of course had to hang Saddam Hussein for destroying several Shia villages. But the current Georgian rulers who in one hour simply wiped 10 Ossetian villages from the face of the earth, the Georgian rulers which used tanks to run over children and the elderly, which threw civilians into cellars and burnt them - they [Georgian leaders] are players that have to be protected."

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."

US President George W Bush
"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st Century. The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward solving this conflict."

10 AUGUST 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"We are really seeing absolutely unparalleled situation since many, many decades in the world. 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 Ambassador to UN, Vitaly Churkin
"Regime change is purely an American invention, purely an American invention; we never apply this terminology in our political thinking and certainly we are all for democracy in Georgia, and it's interesting that our American colleagues chose to bring up publicly this idea of President Saakashvili stepping down."

9 AUGUST 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"This is 100%, unprovoked brutal Russian invasion. This is about annihilation of a democracy on their borders. We on our own cannot fight with Russia. We want an immediate ceasefire, immediate cessation of hostilities, separation of Russia and Georgia and international mediation."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
"Georgia's aspiration to join Nato... is driven by its attempt to drag other nations and peoples into its bloody adventures.

"The actions of the Georgian powers in South Ossetia are, of course, a crime - first of all against their own people. The territorial integrity of Georgia has suffered a fatal blow."

US President George W Bush
In a statement:
"I'm deeply concerned about the situation in Georgia. The attacks are occurring in regions of Georgia far from the zone of conflict in South Ossetia. They mark a dangerous escalation in the crisis. We have urged an immediate halt to the violence and a stand-down by all troops. We call for an end to the Russian bombings, and a return by the parties to the status quo."

8 AUGUST 2008

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
"Russia is fighting a war with us in our own territory. This is a clear intrusion on another country's territory. We have Russian tanks on our territory, jets on our territory in broad daylight."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
"I must protect the life and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are. We will not allow their deaths to go unpunished. Those responsible will receive a deserved punishment."



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