Statement by Minister Cannon on Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Georgia

(No. 133 - May 15, 2009)The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the status of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Georgia:

"Canada is deeply concerned that after five months of tough, complex negotiations on securing a future mandate and continued presence in Georgia of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, talks have broken down due to the intransigence of one participating state.

"Russia bears the responsibility for this unfortunate impasse on Georgia and for the termination of the OSCE presence there. This development does not send a positive signal or build the much-needed trust and confidence we now need to address European security challenges.

"We note that Georgia, as the host state, wants an OSCE presence in its territory. Moreover, Georgia has requested OSCE assistance as there are still needs to be addressed there, especially in the wake of the armed conflict last August. I regret that the OSCE was prevented from fulfilling Georgia's wish and from continuing its long-standing role in that country, including its important conflict prevention and resolution work.

"Canada supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders."

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