I am deeply concerned by the escalating violence in South Ossetia. I strongly urge all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities immediately and to resume direct talks in order to find a peaceful and diplomatic solution. The Russian Government should withdraw its troops and press the South Ossetian militants to hold their fire, and the Georgian Government must exercise restraint and refrain from further military action that will escalate this dangerous conflict. Efforts must also be taken to protect the civilian population and prevent a humanitarian crisis. Maintaining the territorial integrity of Georgia is crucial to preserving stability in the region.