Spain backs plan to settle Russia-Georgia conflict

15th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says the French EU plan to settle the conflict between Georgia and Russia guarantees territorial integrity.

15 August 2008

MADRID - Spain backs a plan brokered by the French presidency of the EU to settle the conflict between Georgia and Russia, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Thursday.

Zapatero said French President Nicolas Sarkozy "had done a good job", adding the agreement was "relevant" as it "guaranteed basic principles such as territorial integrity".

Under the French-brokered ceasefire agreed on Tuesday, Russian and Georgian forces would return to positions held before Georgia launched its offensive against the separatist territory of South Ossetia.

"We back what the EU says," Zapatero told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.

"This is our commitment. We will give all our support to the political task, to missions and any tasks which the European Union may ask of us," he added.

"The EU must have a leadership role in the search for peace and stability beyond its borders, in all of Europe, and we can demand that Russia contribute to stability through dialogue and understanding."

The EU-brokered, six-point ceasefire plan also includes a commitment not to resort to force, to end hostilities definitely and provide free access for humanitarian aid.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, on Wednesday evoked the possibility of sending European "monitors" to Georgia but refrained of speaking of a peacekeeping force.

Europe's security body, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), said Thursday it was ready in principle to send up to 100 military observers to the conflict zone.

Spain announced on Tuesday that it would give the Red Cross EUR 500,000 to help to the people affected by the conflict.

Latest estimates by the Georgian and Russian governments put the number of displaced people in the region at nearly 115,000.

[AFP / Expatica]

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