Swedish foreign minister to go to Georgia

Other News Materials 11 August 2008 15:16 (UTC +04:00)

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Monday joined the list of diplomats due to travel to Georgia in efforts to end fighting between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, dpa reported.

Bildt, who currently holds the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the 47-nation Council of Europe, wrote on his personal blog that he was travelling Monday to Georgia with Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis.

The aim was to "assess the situation," Bildt said, adding that if they could not land in Georgia they might have to land in the capital of neighbouring Armenia and continue on to Georgia.

Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996 and Georgia three years later. The Strasbourg-based organization was founded in 1949.

Bildt noted that with the "possible exception of Cyprus in 1974 the Council of Europe has never had to tackle a situation where two member states were at war."

Over the weekend, Bildt condemned the fighting saying "the reasons cited by the Russian authorities do not justify military action in the territory of Georgia, regardless of whether the action is taken in the province of South Ossetia or in other parts of Georgia."

Bildt has called for the withdrawal of Russian forces and the establishment of political contacts to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis.

On his blog he warned Saturday that "we have seen powers before claiming that the violations of the rights of holders of their passports or their nationality - by a previous Germany in Eastern Europe or a previous Serbia in former Yugoslavia - justify them sending their armies into these countries."

Bildt concluded that this "runs contrary to international law."