OSCE Chairman urges de-escalation of situation in Georgia
Finland, Helsinki, 30 April 2008 / Trend / The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, said today he was seriously concerned over the recent developments in Georgia, and reiterated the Organization's full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.
"The latest events, including the decision of the Russian Federation to establish official ties with Georgia's breakaway regions, the shooting down of a Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle over Abkhazia, Georgia, on 20 April, and the recent military build-up have considerably increased tension in the region," said Minister Stubb.
The OSCE is addressing the situation in Georgia as a priority issue. Special Envoy Heikki Talvitie visited Georgia from 27 to 29 April to calm tensions and call for dialogue. The Permanent Council debated the recent development today in Vienna in a special session, and the Organization's Forum for Security Co-operation today launched a discussion on the politico-military aspects of the drone incident.
"I welcome the proposal for a UN-led joint fact-finding group to investigate the incident. The OSCE fully supports UNOMIG's efforts," said Stubb.
The Chairman-in-Office also spoke today on the phone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and urged them to avoid any further escalation and defuse tensions through dialogue and confidence-building measures.
"All parties should refrain from unilateral measures and threats to use military force. I appeal to the parties to re-engage in negotiations aimed at a peaceful resolution of the conflicts. The OSCE stands ready to provide assistance in confidence-building and to promote the peace process," said Minister Stubb.