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.
One of the largest refugee boatloads bound for Europe of recent is headed for the island of Crete. The ferry Baris, carrying 700 people thought to be from Syria and Afghanistan, is being towed by a Greek navy frigate.
US General Philip Breedlove, NATO's top military chief has warned that Russia still has enough troops on Ukraine's border to carry out an incursion across the region. Moscow has also deployed 14 military jets to Crimea.
Each day an average of three people have joined Estonia's national guard this year. Estonians worry Russia could one day turn its aggression on them, and they want to be ready. Isabelle de Pommereau reports from Tallinn.
A rare copy of Shakespeare plays spent hundreds of years hiding in a public library in a small town in northern France before it was noticed. The 1623 volume is seen as one of the most valuable books in the world.