Belgium's Karel De Gucht called for a measured response to the escalating conflict between Georgia and Russia (file photo) (epa)
16 February 2006 -- Belgium, which chairs the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), today called for a peaceful solution to the Georgian-South Ossetian separatist conflict.
In remarks broadcast live on Georgia's Imedi television channel, Belgian Senator Pierre Chevalier said he hoped next week's meeting of the Joint Control Commission that monitors the 1992 Georgian-Ossetian cease-fire would bring progress:
"A possible solution, a peaceful solution [to] the conflict is very high on the agenda of the [OSCE] Belgian chairmanship," Chevalier said. "So we call upon all parties involved in the conflict to use all diplomatic means to reach a peaceful solution."
Chevalier said he met with several Georgian officials, including President Mikheil Saakashvili, to discuss the situation in the conflict zone. He said he would hold talks with Russian and South Ossetian representatives before reporting to the OSCE chairman in office, Belgium's Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht.
In a statement issued in Kosovo's capital Prishtina, De Gucht called for a measured response by the Georgian government, one day after the Georgian parliament voted Russian peacekeepers out of South Ossetia.
Russia has protested the Georgian parliament's decision, warning it could escalate tensions in South Ossetia.