G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Berlin
G8 Chairman's Statement
16 and 17 December 1999
- This G8 meeting was about the important issue of conflict prevention. This is the
main message of our Berlin meeting yesterday and today. However, creating a
"new culture of prevention" means also a strong commitment to rules and values
in existing conflicts for all of us.
- Nobody questions the right of Russia to preserve its territorial integrity or its right
to fight terrorism. We all condemn terrorism, and we want our partner Russia to
be in the position to restore peace, order and stability to Chechnya with peaceful,
political means. However, the present Russian action is a contradiction with the
basis principles of humanitarian law, the commitments of Russia as made within
the OSCE and its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe. Only a
political solution can put an end to this crisis.
- During our discussions at Eight we voiced our deep concerns with regard to the
way Russia is handling the conflict in Chechnya. I am sure, our friend Igor
Ivanow will take this crystal clear message to Moscow:
- The fight against terrorists cannot be won by an indiscriminate war against
cities and the whole of the population. This war will not lead to peace and
stability. It increases the gap between Russia and the Chechen people
and will rather prolong the conflict.
- We believe it is essential to avoid any spillover of the conflict, and any
actions that threaten the security and sovereignty of neighbouring states.
We support the OSCE Permanent Council's decision to send international
monitors to the Russian-Georgian border.
- This war poses a serious threat to partnership and cooperation between
Russian and all of us. Russia must return to the road to peace and
stability in the Caucasus-region - despite all of the difficulties underway.
- Our Russian partner informed us of the very difficult situation that has led to the
conflict, and of the present Russian efforts to reestablish order and stability. I
think everyone fully understands Russia's severe problems.
- We ask our Russian partners to agree that the only way out of this human
tragedy is a political solution. Reestablishing peace in Chechnya and securing
stability and a more prosperous future for the region would be in itself a valid
contribution to future conflict prevention for the conflict torn Caucasus. We have
repeatedly urged the Russian Government to fulfil its obligations as a member of
the United Nations, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe. A continuation of
current Russian policy would mean that public demands would become louder.
At this critical juncture a clear signal by the Russian Government to show that it
has understood the necessity to arrive at a political solution as soon as possible
is vital for our future relationship. We urge Russia to exercise restraint in
Grozny, and to permit non-combattants to leave safely.
- Without an end of the bombing and the disproportionate use of force against
Chechen innocent civilians, a political solution will not be possible. We stand
ready to co-operate with Russia to the fullest extent possible to resole the
- As a consequence of the trip of the OSCE Chairman Volleback to Chechnya who
gave us a report this morning we are convinced of the following:
- We call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire by both sides throughout
Chechnya according to Minister Shoigu, there are about 45,000 civilians trapped
in Grozny and the corridors seem not safe.
- A political solution must be found on the basis of an active political dialogue.
This seems to be uncontroversial. We support a role of the OSCE in this
- The search for a political solution must have a regional dimension, taking the
concerns of the neighbouring republics seriously. A regional conference of the
presidents of the three republics as well as Chechen representatives and the
Russian Federation might be a useful first step.
- The dramatic humanitarian situation calls for an urgent stepping up of
international aid; all our countries will have to do more immediately, and the
Russian authorities will have to cooperate in an unbureaucratic way. The
security of those providing international humanitarian aids must be guaranteed,
and certain standards of working conditions must be ensured.
Source: Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
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