August 11, 2008
Ottawa, Ontario

In a statement released today, Prime Minister Harper condemned Russia’s incursions into Georgian territory far beyond South Ossetia, including into already tense Abkhazia.

“Russian and Georgian forces must immediately cease hostilities throughout Georgia and return to their August 6 positions,” he said. “Furthermore, in escalating the conflict through its attacks on Georgian towns and cities outside South Ossetia, Russia has ceased to act as a peacekeeper. It is imperative that Russia respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.”

Prime Minister Harper added that “Military force will not resolve this dispute. The only viable long-term solution is international mediation and peacekeeping.”

Prime Minister Harper added that Canada is working with its international partners to bring this conflict to a close as quickly as possible. He also stated that Canada stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict. The first priority for all sides must be to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, and facilitate full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to assist those in need.