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EU Council Conclusions On The Situation In Georgia

EU Council Conclusions On The Situation In Georgia

BRUSSELS, 13 AUGUST 2008

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The Council recalls that the Union had expressed its grave concern at recent developments in Georgia, and the open conflict that has broken out between Russia and Georgia.

Military action of this kind is not a solution. This war has caused the loss of many human lives, inflicted suffering on the population, resulted in substantial material damage and further increased the number of displaced persons and refugees.

A peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia must be based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognised by international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

2. In this context, the absolute priority is to stop the suffering and bring the fighting to an end. In this respect the Council welcomes the agreement subscribed to by the parties yesterday on the basis of the mediation efforts carried out by the Union.

The principles to which the parties have subscribed are as follows:

(1) Not to resort to force;

(2) To end hostilities definitively;

(3) To provide free access for humanitarian aid;

(4) Georgian military forces will have to withdraw to their usual bases;

(5) Russian military forces will have to withdraw to the lines held prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Pending an international mechanism, Russian peace-keeping forces will implement additional security measures;

(6) Opening of international talks on the security and stability arrangements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Council calls on the parties to honour all these commitments, beginning with an effective ceasefire, and to ensure that they are implemented effectively and in good faith both on the ground and in the relevant fora. The international mechanism should be set up rapidly.

3. The Council emphasises the Union's commitment to contribute actively to effective implementation of these principles. They will be embodied in a UN Security Council resolution as soon as possible.

Rapid reinforcement of the OSCE's observer capabilities on the ground is crucial. The Union will take action along to this effect at the OSCE. The Council urges the parties not to obstruct the observers' activities.

The Council also considers that the European Union must be prepared to commit itself, including on the ground, to support every effort, including those of the UN and the OSCE, with a view to a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Georgia. It asks the SG/HR, in liaison with the Commission, to prepare proposals on the matter with a view to the informal meeting in Avignon on 5 and 6 September.

4. The Council stresses the humanitarian emergency and the Union's resolve to provide vital assistance to the population. An outline has been given of initial measures undertaken, both by the Commission and by the Member States. The Council requests the Commission, in liaison with the Presidency, to continue to coordinate European assistance and to encourage pooling arrangements designed to enhance its effectiveness and relevance.

It is essential that all parties undertake to respect international humanitarian law and to facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to all the population groups affected, without discrimination.

In addition, in view of the destruction caused by the conflict, the Council emphasises the need to identify reconstruction requirements as of now and to prepare to make a significant contribution to meeting those requirements at Union level. It invites the Commission to report back to it on this matter before its next meeting.

ENDS

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