Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-121"

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". Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Mrs Ferrero-Waldner, ladies and gentlemen, the situation that has developed in Georgia since this summer is unacceptable and intolerable and merits a firm and determined response from the European Union. Russia has the same rights and obligations as all states in the international community. One of these obligations is to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity and in particular not to violate internationally recognised borders. By invading and occupying Georgian territory, and by recognising the independence of the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian authorities have flouted, one after the other, each of these three fundamental principles of international law. The European Union must actively participate in the resolution of this conflict and I congratulate the French Presidency on its proactive attitude. We must show that we are equal to meeting the hopes of thousands of Georgians who are proclaiming their distress in the streets of Tbilisi. My Group invites the Commission, the Council and all the Member States to demonstrate both their unity and also their resolve with regard to our Russian neighbour. The European Union cannot be content to verbally condemn these systematic violations of international law. Our Group believes that Europe must use the means that it has available, and in particular its political and economic tools, to put pressure on Russia and make it respect the agreements that it has signed. We call on Russia to honour all the commitments that it made on signing the ceasefire agreement, starting with the full and immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory and the reduction of the Russian military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We also condemn the looting perpetrated by the Russian invading forces and the accompanying mercenaries, as you very rightly said, Mr Kouchner. We are extremely concerned about the fate of the Georgian populations in South Ossetia who have been displaced by force, even after the signature of the ceasefire agreement. We strongly call on the Russian and South Abkhazian authorities to guarantee the return of these people to their homes. We call on the Council and the Commission to review their policy towards Russia, including the negotiations on the partnership agreement, if this country should fail to respect its commitments on the ceasefire. We also call on the Council and the Commission to positively contribute to the international mechanisms that will be put in place to resolve the conflict, including through a field mission under the European Security and Defence Policy. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, this crisis has revealed the vulnerabilities of the European Union in several sensitive areas: firstly, our energy supply. More than ever we must ensure the security of Europe’s energy supply. We must develop and protect alternatives to the Russian energy transport infrastructures. Furthermore, it seems obvious that the role of the European Union could be much greater in the management of this crisis if the European Security and Defence Policy were reinforced. The Lisbon Treaty allows for this reinforcement. We therefore call on the Member States which have not yet ratified this Treaty to do so as quickly as possible. Our Group considers that the only way of ensuring stability and security on both sides of the Atlantic is to develop cooperation on an equal basis between the European Union and the US. Finally, we would point out that Georgia wants to eventually join NATO. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a crucial moment and the European Union must not fail to take advantage of this opportunity to show that it is firm and determined with regard to the Russian Federation, however great and powerful the latter may be. The credibility of the European Union, the stability of the whole region, and the protection of our closest neighbours and even Member States of the Union depend on this. I also call on you, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, to ensure that relations with Ukraine are also very quickly resumed. Thank you for your attention. Please stand firm."@en1

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