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Latest On Georgia: Continued Heavy Fighting (FCO)

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK)

Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Latest on Georgia (10/08/2008)

We are monitoring developments in Georgia following news of continued heavy fighting between Georgian forces and South Ossetian separatists in the conflict zone of South Ossetia.

We urge an immediate ceasefire in the fighting in South Ossetia and for a resumption of direct dialogue between all parties.

Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has made a statement deploring the violence:

'I have today had a number of calls with international colleagues. There is widespread concern about the escalating violence in Georgia.

'British representatives on the ground and the media have reported that Russia has extended the fighting today well beyond South Ossetia, attacking the Georgian port of Poti ,and the town of Gori, while Abkhaz forces have been shelling Georgian positions in the Upper Kodori valley. I deplore this.

'The immediate priority for the international community is to stop the conflict. The responsibility on the Russian and Georgian governments is now clear. 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.

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EARLIER

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TRAVEL ADVICE TO GEORGIA CHANGED (10/08/2008)

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has changed its travel advice to Georgia

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office now advise that if you have no urgent need to stay in Georgia, you should leave as soon as possible.

The relevant summary points now read:

We advise against non-essential travel to Georgia. If you or your family have no urgent need to remain in Georgia you should leave as soon as possible. It is wise to do so while some air services are still available and the border remains open.

We advise against all travel to the separatist regions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and also the upper Kodori Valley (also known as upper Abkhazia).

Serious fighting continues in the conflict zone of South Ossetia. There have also been aerial bombardments of Georgian military installations outside the conflict zone at the Black Sea port of Poti, the military bases at Vaziani, Senaki and Marneuli.

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FOREIGN SECRETARY DEPLORES CONTINUED FIGHTING IN GEORGIA (09/08/2008)

Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has made a statement deploring the escalating violence in Georgia

'I have today had a number of calls with international colleagues. There is widespread concern about the escalating violence in Georgia.

'British representatives on the ground and the media have reported that Russia has extended the fighting today well beyond South Ossetia, attacking the Georgian port of Poti ,and the town of Gori, while Abkhaz forces have been shelling Georgian positions in the Upper Kodori valley. I deplore this.

'The immediate priority for the international community is to stop the conflict. The responsibility on the Russian and Georgian governments is now clear. 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.'

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GEORGIA: FOREIGN SECRETARY STATEMENT (09/08/2008)

Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, comments on the situation in Georgia.\

'The UK government is deeply concerned by the violence in Georgia. The escalation in fighting is dangerously destabilising and there is also the threat of civilian losses on a large scale. Reports of fighting and bombing outside South Ossetia are especially disturbing as they represent a broadening and deepening of the conflict.

'The UK believes it is vital for leaderships on both sides to call for fighting to cease and for peace talks to start as soon as possible. I have also agreed to send Sir Brian Fall, our Representative for the South Caucasus, to Georgia tonight as part of an EU/OSCE mission.

'I am today holding high level consultations with European Foreign Ministers and with the US Secretary of State.

'The UK will be discussing with all our partners how to stop the spread of violence, secure a ceasefire and get talks underway.'

ENDS

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