EU concerned over situation in Georgia

Other News Materials 9 August 2008 10:47 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union (EU) on Friday expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, Xinhua reported.

"I am deeply concerned over the dramatic situation in Georgia and I deplore the loss of human lives and the suffering inflicted on the civilian population," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solanasaid in a statement.

Solana said he "spoke with (Russian Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov and (Georgian Foreign Minister) Eka Tkeshelashvili and called on both to spare no efforts to obtain an immediate cease-fire".

"We will continue to work relentlessly with the parties and the international community, in particular the OSCE, to help find a peaceful way out of the crisis."

Solana held a telephone conversation with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, expressing "serious concern" about the situation in South Ossetia and calling for efforts aimed at ending the violence and resuming talks between the sides.

The EU's French presidency also expressed "grave concern" over the violent fighting in South Ossetia in a statement issued Friday.

The French presidency called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the swift resumption of negotiations in order to find a political solution to this crisis.

"The European Union, together with all the parties concerned, is working towards a ceasefire in order to prevent further escalation of this conflict," the statement said.

Georgian armed forces traded gunfire with militants of South Ossetia near the regional capital Tskhinvali overnight Thursday into Friday, killing at least 15 people, news reports said.