Between 8 and
From the start of the conflict, the UK and its international partners have been involved in intensive discussions, including through the UN, EU, NATO, G7 and OSCE, to agree a ceasefire and to find a durable and peaceful way forward. I spoke to Russian President Medvedev and to other Heads of State, including Presidents Bush and Sarkozy, to try to find a way forward. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Georgia where he met President Saakashvili and Members of his Government.
the parties not to resort to the use of force; the parties to stop all military actions for good; the parties to allow free access for humanitarian aid;
Georgian armed forces to return to their places of usual permanent deployment;
Russian armed forces to withdraw to the line they occupied before the start of military actions. Until such time as an international mechanism is created, Russian peacekeeping forces to implement additional security measures; the parties to engage in international discussions on the modalities of security and stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Despite this plan, on
It was in this context that I and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary attended the Extraordinary European Council on
At this meeting the European Council unanimously condemned Russia's decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; and expressed its grave concern about the consequences of the conflict and Russia's disproportionate military action. Russia's actions were in clear breach of international law and of successive UN Security Council Resolutions.
In response to Russian actions, the Council decided to conduct a comprehensive review of EU-Russia relations. This evaluation has begun and will continue in the run up to the next EU-Russia summit scheduled to take place in Nice on
Russia's actions in Georgia illustrate the need for Europe to intensify efforts to ensure its long-term energy security. The European Council tasked the EU with examining initiatives to be taken to this end. We should explore all options for the diversification of energy supply in the EU, including increased support for infrastructure that diversifies energy sources, an increased commitment to renewable energy, measures to improve energy efficiency and measures to improve the internal market.
The international community must support Georgia in rebuilding the damage caused by the conflict. The European Council made clear the EU's commitment to supply humanitarian aid and support for Georgia's long-term reconstruction efforts, including in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Council and the Commission have been tasked to start preparations for an international conference to bring focus to reconstruction efforts. The UK will play its part. We have already committed £2 million to Georgia in humanitarian aid. The EU has pledged to step up its relations with Georgia, including through visa facilitation measures, appointing an EU special envoy and the possible establishment of a full and comprehensive free trade area as soon as the conditions are met.
At the European Council, the EU unanimously called on the parties to implement the EU/OSCE peace plan in full. On
The international community will support efforts to ensure lasting peace and security in the region, including through the presence of observers on the ground. In line with the EU Council conclusions and the
The EU's response to this crisis must also consider the implications for the EU's common neighbourhood. On
The UK will continue to work with international partners to ensure that effective support is given to Georgia and that a lasting, peaceful solution is reached as soon as possible.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I will continue to keep the House informed of developments.