Who, in your view, is responsible for this crisis? Is Georgia trying to provoke Russia, as Moscow claims, or is Russia punishing Georgia for its pro-Western aspirations, as Tbilisi maintains?
Benita Ferrero-Waldner: It is certainly not a question that I can answer. I can only tell you that our answer to both parties is clearly -- there should be stability in our common neighborhood and this should be of mutual benefit for both parties, and a conflict can only be solved by dialogue and particularly by restraint. This has also been our message here to the Georgian side.
RFE/RL: Do you think Georgia show a lack of restraint when it arrested the four Russian officers?
Ferrero-Waldner: Well, you know, I do not know all the facts. The important thing is now
that Georgia is trying to find a solution for that and I must say I'm glad to see that the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has offered its services, its good [offices], and our colleague [Belgian Foreign Minister and the OSCE´s chair-in-office] Mr. Karel de Gucht has been here in Georgia just before us in order to take over the four people, the four Russian people.
RFE/RL: In your view, was Russia's decision to impose a wholesale blockade on Georgia a proportional response?
Ferrero-Waldner: It is difficult to answer such a question [without knowing all the details] and I'm not going into that. What I can say -- and this was clearly our message here, but this is also our message to our Russian friends - [is:] use all the different possibilities for mediation. It [includes] the [United Nations], OSCE, it certainly also [includes] the European Union and both sides now have to show restraint and a dialogue in order to restore stability in this region.
RFE/RL: Given, as you say, that the EU is ready to mediate, did the Georgian government ask you today to try and persuade Russia to drop the blockade?
Ferrero-Waldner: Well, they of course told us their perception of the question, and of course we mentioned that we in principle were ready if this were necessary. Now I think it's a matter of mutual consultations, it's a matter of mutual information, and certainly [the EU's] Finnish [presidency] is also in touch with Russia.