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Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 18:34 UK

Reaction to Russia's recognition of rebels

Russia's decision to recognise the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has drawn international criticism. Here are some key quotes.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIAN PRESIDENT

I have appealed to all leaders concerned to speed up Georgia's Nato and EU integration. We already have some positive signals from our North Atlantic and European partners... We will continue our struggle to peacefully restore our territorial integrity... Georgia will be unified and indivisible. We will defeat the evil.

TIMUR YAKOBASHVILI, GEORGIAN MINISTER ON REINTEGRATION

I still believe that in my lifetime we will see these territories back but we cannot do it alone, now we are at war with the Russian Federation, now we are in the process of the liberation of our territories and now our next movement will be everything that would de-occupy our territories. War has a hot phase and it has a cold phase. Now probably we are in the cold phase of it but one thing is clear, that we are occupied and we will be working on de-occupation.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, US SECRETARY OF STATE

The Russian intention to recognise two regions that have been in conflict but are clearly within the internationally recognised borders of Georgia, by multiple Security Council resolutions... is regrettable. It puts Russia, of course, in opposition to a number of Security Council resolutions of which it is party as a member of the Security Council, as member of the United Nations and most appallingly as a member of the P5 [permanent five]. Since the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council, this simply will be dead on arrival in the Security Council. And therefore, in accordance with other Security Council resolutions that are still in force, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are a part of the internationally recognised borders of Georgia and it's going to remain so.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL

This is in direct violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions regarding Georgia's territorial integrity, resolutions that Russia itself has endorsed. Russia's actions in recent weeks call into question Russia's commitment to peace and security in the Caucasus. Nato firmly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and calls on Russia to respect these principles.

TERRY DAVIS, COUNCIL OF EUROPE SECRETARY-GENERAL
The unilateral recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Russian Federation violates the territorial integrity of a fellow Council of Europe member state. It jeopardises prospects for a negotiated settlement of the dispute about the future status of these two regions. Russia cannot have it both ways. In the past, Russia has strongly supported the principle of territorial integrity. The decision to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia must strike any objective observer as being inconsistent with this principle. The ultimate victim of this decision is the international credibility of the Russian Federation. The Russians cannot invoke international law only when they feel like it.

CARL BILDT, SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER

That the Russian government leadership now has chosen this route means they have chosen a policy of confrontation, not only with the rest of Europe, but also with the international community in general.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

This contradicts the principle of territorial integrity, a principle based on the international law of nations and for this reason it is unacceptable.

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER SOVIET UNION LEADER

The risk of a new schism has arisen. There is a growing threat of global chaos.

DAVID MILIBAND, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY
Today's announcement further inflames an already tense situation in the region. We fully support Georgia's independence and territorial integrity, which cannot be changed by decree from Moscow.

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN

We consider this is a regrettable decision and I recall our attachment to the territorial integrity of Georgia.



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