French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is in the Georgian capital Tbilisi at the start of an EU mission aimed at ending the bloodshed in South Ossetia.
Kouchner led a top-level diplomatic team of international mediators, in talks with the Georgian President.
“Ceasefire first, access to the victims second, withdrawal of the troops – controlled withdrawal of the troops, fourth coming back to the table, negotiation, peace talks, political solution. That’s it; sorry, easy to say, very difficult to do,” he said.
The simmering conflict between Russia and its, former Soviet neighbour Georgia erupted late on Thursday when Georgia sent forces into the small, pro-Russian province of South Ossetia.
After their meeting the Georgian president described the conflict as an unparalleled world crisis: “It reminds me of a very bad example from the past, we are seeing an absolutely unparalleled situation since many, many decades in the world. This is the most surreal world crisis I could ever imagine,” he said.
Kouchner will next move on to Moscow for talks with Russian leaders. A French plan to end the conflict calls for an immediate end to hostilities, and the withdrawal of forces to positions held before August 6, reflecting the US stance.