German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Russia had acted inappropriately in Georgia, but stressed the need to use diplomacy to resolve the situation.
Steinmeier wants Russia to be part of the solution
"Russia has very clearly crossed the line," Steinmeier said after talks in Stockholm on Monday, Aug. 18, which centered around the fighting between Russia and Georgia.
Steinmeier called Russia a "big and influential neighbor" which cannot be ignored. Any solution to the crisis in the Caucasus needed to be done in conjunction with Russia.
"So despite the difficulties we have to keep the communication lines with both Tbilisi and Russia open," he said, after meeting with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt.
Sweden freezes out Russia
Shortly after Steinmeier's visit, Sweden announced it will freeze military cooperation with Russia to protest the conflict. Sweden is not a NATO member.
"During the current crisis the government says that until further notice it will not conduct military maneuvers with Russia or visit Russian military units," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said, as reported by the DPA news agency.
Steinmeier followed up his trip to Sweden with a stop in Norway on Monday, Aug. 18. There, he met with Norway's foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, where the main topic of discussion was also the Russian-Georgian conflict.