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8 Oct, 2008 14:39

Georgian military aggression was a mistake – Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the “Georgian aggression” in South Ossetia. It’s the first statement of its kind by a Western European leader, although Sarkozy also criticised the scale of Russia’s response.

The comments were made at the First World Policy Conference in Evian, France.

“Let’s put things clearly,” he said. “There was a Georgian military aggression. That was a mistake. But the Russian army’s reaction was disproportionate.”

To watch the full speech of Dmitry Medvedev, please follow link.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Medvedev said the existing system of international security does not meet modern challenges and has to be changed. The Russian President added he was seeking to launch a new type of dialogue between leaders around the globe.

According to Medvedev, so-called NATO centrism is ineffective.

“The recent events in the Caucasus have indicated once again that Europe needs a new security treaty,” he said. “The new system should involve all the states without isolating anyone.”

The Russian leader also confirmed that the country’s peacekeeping contingent will leave the security area in South Ossetia and Abkhazia at the end of Wednesday, by midnight. He also said that EU observers have been deployed in the zone, along the perimeter of the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with Georgia.

“We want them to live up to their functions and act as guarantors of the non-use of force, who could prevent any provocation on the part of the Tbilisi regime. This is what we agreed upon with the European Union,” said Medvedev.

Earlier on Wednesday the Russian president said that “states both small and large should resolutely give up war as a political instrument”.

“If we recognise that international relations is a mixture of corresponding interests of equal sovereign states, then any aspiration of domination and achieving one's own goals at the expense of others should be acknowledged as immoral.”

Medvedev added: "A just multi-polar world order should be based on collectiveness and the supremacy of international law. Force, if separated from international law, breeds unpredictability and chaos.

“One begins to war with each other, which in fact happened in Iraq. Any selective use of international legal norms undermines international legality.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke about cooperation between Russia and Europe, which he believes can be further developed in many areas.

“We are together against international terrorism,” he said. “Both of us want to fight the resurgence of Al-Quaida supporting governments. We want to fight against piracy on the high seas and against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are obviously working together on the Iranian nuclear issue.”

The event, organised by the French Institute of International relations, brought together heads of state and government as well as leading figures from the business world.

Evian Conference: what's it all about?