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12 Aug, 2008 18:49

Ceasefire gets mixed reactions

As the ceasefire agreement gets mixed reaction around the world, representatives from five Eastern European nations have arrived to Tbilisi in a show of support for the Georgian leader. Meanwhile, the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, believes th

In an interview with Italian daily 'Il Foglio', Frattini called for unity in the face of the conflict in South Ossetia.

“This would condemn any initiative – whatever it may be – to failure, and any discussion at the UN Security Council to a Russian veto,” he said.

Frattini also said Moscow will remain a strategic partner, and that European countries should work for a balanced solution to the crisis.

According to Frattini, Italy is ready to take part in any humanitarian effort and should work for a “balanced solution” to the crisis between Russia and Georgia.

Eastern Europeans arrive in Tbilisi

His comments come as the leaders of five Eastern European nations arrive to Tbilisi in a show of support for Georgia.

Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are looking to help mediate a resolution to the conflict in South Ossetia.

Poland's president, Lech Kaczynski, says he discussed the plans in a telephone conversation with U.S. President George Bush, who gave his full support.

But Kazcynski has faced criticism at home for the mission.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski says the president is putting the country at risk of being pulled into a conflict.

Skeptic reception

Though the ceasefire agreement was internationally called for, it has been met with some scepticism from Washington and NATO.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, “Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner of France briefed us on the ongoing discussions between the French and the Russians as well as the French and the Georgians. I believe that they have made some progress and we welcome that. And we certainly welcome the EU mediation. It is very important now that all parties cease fire; the Georgians have agreed to a ceasefire, the Russians need to stop their military operations as they have apparently said that they will.”

NATO Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, expected the conditions to go further.

“The ceasefire was clearly not considered enough,” he said. “It is very important that all parties go back to what is called the status quo as it existed on the August 6. So it is not only a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities, the situation of the August 6 has to be restored and that also means that all forces have to be in the positions they had on that date.”

Others say Russia had every right to respond the way it did.

Cuba's president Raul Castro released a statement calling Moscow's actions ‘just’.

Moldova's unrecognised republic, Transdniester, has reportedly cut off communication with Chisinau, saying the country had let the destruction of Tskhinvali happen as it stood by silently.

And former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev slammed the West, saying it had made a serious blunder by getting involved.

“By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its ”national interest,“ the United States made a serious blunder. Of course, peace in the Caucasus is in everyone's interest. But it is simply common sense to recognise that Russia is rooted there by common geography and centuries of history,” he said.