Merkel condemns Russian recognition

16:13, 26 August 2008
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Says EU stands by Georgia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia`s decision to recognize two breakaway Georgian regions breaches international law and will not be accepted by European Union members meeting to discuss the fallout from the war in Georgia.

``This contradicts the basic principles of territorial integrity and is therefore absolutely unacceptable,`` Merkel said in a speech in Tallinn today.

Earlier today, during a joint press briefing with Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip minutes before Russia recognized the two regions` independence, Merkel said the EU ``will very clearly stand by this principle`` of territorial integrity. The recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia ``is something that we don`t consider to be part of international law,`` she said.

Merkel`s comments add to international condemnation of Russia`s decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two Georgian regions that sparked the five-day war that began Aug. 8. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced the move a day after both houses of parliament voted to urge him to recognize the regions.

Merkel said she was ``relatively optimistic`` that the emergency EU summit called for Sept. 1 in Brussels will find a common voice in addressing the aftermath of the five-day conflict in Georgia.

``Georgia must be supported,`` Merkel said. ``We have a lot of options there, with one instrument being the EU neighborhood policy under its eastern dimension.`` That may mean rallying support for ``the economic rebuilding of Georgia,`` she added.


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