Given the increased military hostilities in the Georgian conflict region of South Ossetia, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (8 August) held telephone conversations with the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, and with his Russian opposite number Sergey Lavrov. He subsequently issued the following statement:
"I am greatly concerned about the reports of escalating violence and military hostilities in South Ossetia. I urge those involved to end all use of force immediately and to take appropriate steps to calm the situation, as well as to refrain from further heightening the tension through their harsh words and reciprocal allegations of blame.
The task now is to break out of the spiral of mutual threats and violence. I therefore call on the parties to enter into direct dialogue forthwith. Germany supports the intensive efforts undertaken to that end by the Finnish OSCE Chairmanship.
The Federal Government sees the escalating situation in South Ossetia as confirming the need to help restart the negotiating process aimed at resolving the Abkhazia conflict. Here, too, the continuing lack of dialogue bears the incalculable risk of exacerbating the situation. For that reason the Federal Government will maintain its pressure on the conflict parties to meet for talks with the UN Secretary-General's Group of Friends of Georgia as soon as possible."