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Russian army's disproportionate force "serious concern" - EP President

Institutions - 13-08-2008 - 12:28
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Fire burning in a South Ossetian village © EPA/Belga

Some way to go

Developments in Georgia over the last few days are "deeply worrying" and "the use of force by the Russian army is a reason for serious concern," European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering said in a statement. "Only a political resolution...is possible. Military means are not an option."

He said the most important issue now is the humanitarian situation as military activity has forced people from their homes. "The people, innocent victims of this conflict, need to have the opportunity to lead their normal lives again as soon as possible."
EP playing a role in Georgia
Mr Pöttering sent Marie Anne Isler Béguin, head of the European Parliament's delegation to the South Caucasus to Tbilisi, where she took part in the ceasefire negotiations brokered Tuesday by the EU between Georgia and Russia. "The EU needs to play an important and active political role on the ground facilitating the peace process,"  Mr Pöttering said.

Speaking from Georgia Tuesday , Ms Béguin stressed the importance of the "internationalisation" of the peace process beyond Russia and Georgia to the EU and the UN and underlined "the need for dialogue to foster a political solution."
She said the most important element of the peace plan is an "immediate cease-fire and an immediate halt to all atrocities." She called on Russia to "respect the agreement and immediately withdraw its troops and stop atrocities. The plan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and all its regions, she noted.
What does Georgia need from the EU?
The plan also provides for the creation of humanitarian corridors so that aid can be brought to those affected by the conflict.
Ms Béguin said, "the most urgent step now is to help the victims and the estimated 100,000 refugees who have left their homes." She added, "my mission here now is to find out what the people of Georgia need from the EU."
EP Committees to meet 20 August to discuss situation
The EP Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Security and Defence and the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus will hold an extraordinary joint meeting Wednesday 20 August to discuss the development of the situation in Georgia.
REF.: 20080812STO35261