All parties involved in the Caucasus conflict are "playing with fire," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday. He said the West needs a measured response to Moscow.
The world needs to start talking and put an end to the Caucasus conflict, Merkel said
"Some people ... are frivolously playing with fire -- on all sides," Steinmeier wrote in an op-ed in the mass-market daily Bild on Wednesday, Aug. 27. "The spiral of provocation must stop, and immediately."
The minister called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recognition of independence for Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday an "irresponsible" act that was "further stoking the conflict."
Steinmeier said the West needs to act wisely in its relations with Russia
"For this very reason, we in the West should not react unwisely," Steinmeier wrote. "To be driven by one's emotions at this point would be wrong. We must stop the virus of separation and war infecting other areas.
"The conflict in the Caucasus is in danger of escalating further. If we are not careful the whole security apparatus in Europe will be unhinged -- with unpredictable consequences for us all," he added.
Merkel confident EU has answer
German Chancellor Angela Merkel showed confidence Tuesday that the European Union will manage to find common ground on the Russian-Georgian conflict.
Merkel said she is also ready to attempt more talks with Moscow ahead of the next week's EU emergency summit.
Merkel met Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip in Tallinn
"We will not solve conflicts if we do not talk to each other," Merkel said in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, after a meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus.
The chancellor added that it also must be clear that common values and basic principles must be met for cooperation between the European Union and Russia.
The EU and NATO members, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania fiercely supported Georgia in its showdown with Russia in the last three weeks and urged the 27-nation bloc to toughen penalties with Moscow, such as reconsidering the framework of a partnership agreement or not easing EU visa restrictions with Russia.
The leaders of EU members will meet for an emergency summit on Monday to discuss Russian-Georgian conflict.
The six-point plan brokered by the French EU presidency to withdraw Russian troops from Georgia should "now be implemented," said Merkel in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.
In light of recent marches by the controversial PEGIDA movement, Germany's Central Council of Jews (ZdJ) has come to the defense of Muslims in Germany. Chairman Josef Schuster has warned to not underestimate the group.
As the anti-Islamization PEGIDA movement gains momentum, Saxony's political establishment is on the defensive. The interior ministry has turned to Twitter to boost support for asylum-seekers in the eastern German state.
A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a major critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen is accused of leading a terrorist plot to seize power.
We may know him best as the devilishly handsome provocateur of films such as "Ocean's Eleven" but Brad Pitt may be about to receive a somewhat more salubrious title - the "Keeper of the German Language" for 2014.