Bildt Flies to Georgian Capital

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis have flown to the Georgian capital Tbilisi where they were scheduled to meet with Georgian President Michail Saakashvili.

Since Friday Georgian and Russian troops have been attacking each other in a territorial dispute over the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia. 

Ahead of the trip the Foreign Ministry in Stockholm released a statement by Carl Bildt, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on his visit to Georgia:

”The peaceful solution of conflicts is a general principle of the Council of Europe. Both Georgia and the Russian Federation have committed themselves, when they joined the organisation, to settle all conflicts by peaceful means. This commitment must be respected, and so must the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.

”It is against this background that I am travelling to Georgia as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to stress the common values and principles of the organisation.

”I urge once again all parties to immediately enter into a cease-fire. I strongly support the efforts of the UN, the EU and the OSCE to end the violence and resolve the conflict. It is of the utmost importance that humanitarian organisations are given total access to the conflict area. The suffering of the civilian population must stop, as must the loss of even more lives in this region of Europe.

”The Swedish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers is convinced that sustainable peace and stability are based on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe can provide expertise and assistance to this end. I am pleased that Secretary-General Terry Davis is accompanying me on this visit.”