Medvedev and Sarkozy devise peace plan
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy have drawn up a six point peace plan for settling the conflict in South Ossetia. Non-use of force and stopping all military action are among the conditions which must be met if the proposal is to succeed.
At a meeting in Moscow, the Russian and French presidents called for the sides to sign up to the following principles:
- 1) Non-use of force.
- 2) Stop all military action.
- 3) Free access to humanitarian aid.
- 4) Georgian troops return to their previous positions before the conflict.
- 5) Russian troops return to the lines they held before the start of the military operation. Before an international solution is worked out Russian peacekeepers are taking up an additional security role.
- 6) The start of an international discussion over the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The French President will travel to Georgia after his trip to the Russian capital.
Earlier, Sarkozy had shown his understanding of Russia’s position. He added that France and Europe sought peace, and all the efforts now are aimed at achieving it.
"It’s quite normal that Russia wants to defend its interests, as well as the interests of Russians both in and outside Russia. It is also normal that we, the international community, want to guarantee the integrity, sovereignty and independence of Georgia. France has delivered a document to you and, I hope, we will be working on that basis."
Shortly after the attacks began last week, the country urged all sides to show restraint and avoid any escalation, as well as a resumption of direct dialogue between them.
France also proposed a ceasefire plan, which was rejected by Russia. Moscow insisted that before the ceasefire could take place, Georgia must withdraw its troops from the conflict area.
The two Presidents have also had several phone conversations in the past few days on the situation in South Ossetia and Georgia.
Reports say Georgian troops continue fire
There are reports from South Ossetia of continued small arms fire. Russian peacekeepers say Georgian troops are firing on their positions in the capital Tskhinvali.
The news comes as Moscow announced the end of military operations in the republic. Russia has urged Tbilisi to re-deploy its military outside South Ossetia and sign an agreement not to use force.
Authorities in South Ossetia say about two thousand people have died in the fighting. Their capital Tskhinvali lies in ruins. Russian emergency services say they are caring for hundreds of wounded in the area.
The Russian Government has promised some 40 million dollars to help re-build the city.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 Ossetians have fled the fighting to cross the border to Russia. Funerals are being held in North Ossetia for some of those who have died.
[Source: Russia Today, Moscow, 12Aug08]
The Question of South Ossetia
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