Kouchner: Sarkozy to head to Moscow to mediate in Caucasus

Other News Materials 11 August 2008 15:18 (UTC +04:00)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to travel to Moscow on Tuesday to mediate in the Caucasus conflict, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in an interview with radio RTL in the Georgian capital Tbilisi Monday, reported dpa.

The Elysee Palace did not provide confirmation. France currently holds the European Union presidency.

Kouchner, in the interview, reiterated his support for a ceasefire and a withdrawal of troops from the area. He also called for access to victims and an undertaking in writing from both sides to renounce further violence.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had "accepted almost all proposals," Kouchner said. The EU and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should play an important political role in mediation, he added.

"It is a war of bombing and mortars," Kouchner said. "There have already been numerous civilian casualties." He refrained, however, from condemning the latest Russian bombing. "If I condemn, I can no longer hear both sides," Kouchner said.

The French foreign minister, who flew to Tbilisi on Sunday in a bid to convince Russia and Georgia to agree to a ceasefire in the South Ossetian conflict, was due in Moscow later Monday.

It was not yet known whether he would meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev alone or jointly with Sarkozy.