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Russian President signs Georgia truce

August 16, 2008 21:35 IST

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday signed the France-brokered six-point peace plan for a cease-fire on South Ossetia after his Georgian counterpart Mikhail Saakashvili signed it a day before.

Medvedev, currently at his seaside retreat in the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi, made this announcement at the meeting of national Security Council, Kremlin spokesperson Natalia Timakova told media persons.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow has received a fax copy of the ceasefire plan for South Ossetia signed in Tbilisi yesterday by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili after five-hour long closed door meeting with the visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The original document, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy last Tuesday during his Moscow visit and approved by EU foreign ministers in Brussels the next day, has already been signed by separatist leaders of the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Briefing media persons on Saturday, Deputy Chief of General Staff Col-Gen Anatoly Nogovitsyn underscored that the document has been signed by Saakashvili without any alterations.
The six points in the peace plan agreed between Medvedev and Sarkozy on August 12 include, ceasefire, withdrawal of Georgian troops to barracks, return of Russian peacekeepers into the territory of South Ossetia.

Withdrawal of extra troops back to Russia, which were sent after Tbilisi's attempt to regain the breakaway province, ensuring security of South Ossetia and finally international discussions on their status are some other points mentioned in it.

The Russian general said that now both Russian and Georgian troops will return to the positions they were in before the crisis in the two breakaway province of former Soviet republics in the Caucasus began.

However, Russian peacekeepers would take up additional security measures before an internationally accepted solution to the conflict is found, he underscored.

"Now with the signature of the Georgian President on the ceasefire accord, all Russian troops and any irregular and paramilitary forces that entered with them must leave immediately.

In order to stabilise the situation in Georgia we need international observers on the scene fast. And eventually we need a more robust and impartial international force that will follow those observers," Rice said following her meeting with Saakashvili in Tbilisi.

For most Georgians, Rice's visit was a strong show of American support for their country. On several occasions the US Secretary of State said that the US recognises the territorial integrity of Georgia and believes in the country's democracy and compared Moscow's action with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

However, the Czech President Vaclav Klaus dismissed the comparison and criticised the leaders of Poland and the Baltic States for blasting Moscow's military action in South Ossetia

"We will not follow the line portraying Russia as bad and Georgia as good," Klaus was quoted as saying by Radio Echo Moskvy. Klaus said the widespread recognition of Kosovo by the West has influenced the problems in Georgia.

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