Wien, 9. October 2008 Press release

Plassnik: "First step to rebuild lost confidence"

Foreign Minister on Russian troop withdrawal from Georgia

Vienna, 9 October 2008 – "This is an important step taken by Moscow to rebuild lost confidence. The European Union has kept to its tight schedule and dispatched the EU mission punctually on 1 October. It is important that Russia, too, has now implemented its part of the agreement of 8 September," stated Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today, commenting on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the so-called buffer zones around Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"A long-term resolution of the conflict is, however, only possible if it is based on Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty," reiterated the Minister. In this context Plassnik referred to the necessity of stationing international observers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well. "Compliance with human rights and the return of internally displaced persons must be guaranteed in all parts of the country," Plassnik continued.

"The swift and concerted action by the EU in the Georgian conflict has proved useful. The EU is the only international intermediary who can talk to both Russia and Georgia. We want to take advantage of this next week at the forthcoming international talks in Geneva. The EU is willing to make an active contribution to a just, long-term peace settlement for the region," concluded Plassnik.

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