STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER HARPER ON CONFLICT IN GEORGIA
August 11, 2008
In a statement released today, Prime Minister Harper condemned Russia’s incursions into Georgian territory far beyond South Ossetia, including into already tense Abkhazia.
“Russian and Georgian forces must immediately cease hostilities throughout Georgia and return to their August 6 positions,” he said. “Furthermore, in escalating the conflict through its attacks on Georgian towns and cities outside South Ossetia, Russia has ceased to act as a peacekeeper. It is imperative that Russia respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”
Prime Minister Harper added that “Military force will not resolve this dispute. The only viable long-term solution is international mediation and peacekeeping.”
THE PRESIDENT: I said this violence is unacceptable — I not only said it to Vladimir Putin, I’ve said it to the President of the country, Dmitriy Medvedev. And my administration has been engaged with both sides in this, trying to get a cease-fire, and saying that the status quo ante for all troops should be August 6th. And, look, I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia.
It was just interesting to me that here we are trying to promote peace and harmony and we’re witnessing a conflict take place.
Q Right, no Olympic truce in this case.
THE PRESIDENT: There wasn’t. And I was very firm with Vladimir Putin — he and I have got a good relationship — just like I was firm with the Russian President. And hopefully this will get resolved peacefully. There needs to be a international mediation there for the South Ossetia issue.