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German chancellor calls for immediate ceasefire in Georgia
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22:03, August 10, 2008

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday called for "an immediate and unconditional ceasefire" in Georgia.

In a telephone conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, Merkel also urged the warring parties to return their troops to positions before the conflict, according to German government spokesman Thomas Steg.

Merkel has expressed her deep worry about the further escalation of the situation in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia and the grave consequences for the civilians, Steg said.

"The territorial integrity of Georgia must be respected. The Russian air attacks on Georgian territory must stop immediately," Steg quoted Merkel as saying.

The German chancellor also pledged Germany's support for French EU presidency's efforts to seek a political solution to the conflict.

South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia in the early 1990s and was then governed by a secessionist government. But its independence has not been recognized internationally yet.

On Friday, Georgian troops began a military action against South Ossetia's forces in an attempt to re-establish control over the region.

In response, Russian troops moved into the region to counter the Georgian forces. Its warplanes also bombed the region.


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