Germany urges both sides in Ossetia conflict to stop fighting

Germany on Friday urged both sides in the conflict over South Ossetia to end the fighting and calm tensions, while the country's foreign minister conferred with his Russian counterpart and Georgia's president. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged "an immediate stop to any use of force" and called on both sides to show "the greatest prudence and restraint," said her spokesman, Thomas Steg. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a similar appeal after Georgian troops launched a major military offensive to regain control over breakaway South Ossetia, prompting Russia to vow retaliation.