Russia to pull out from Georgia Monday: Medvedev (Lead)August 17th, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, Aug 17 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Sunday said that Russian troops would pull out from Georgia Monday. He declared this during a telephonic conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
On Aug 8, Georgia launched a major ground and air offensive to seize control of the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, prompting Russia to send thousands of troops there.
Medvedev Aug 12 signed a French-brokered plan on resolving the conflict in Georgia after a meeting between the Russian president and Sarkozy.
The plan includes: renouncing the use of force, halting all military action, providing free access to humanitarian aid, the return of Georgian armed forces to their bases, return of Russia’s armed forces to their positions prior to combat and the start of international discussions on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and on ways to ensure their security.
Bush Saturday called on Moscow to end the crisis in Georgia as Medvedev signed the agreeement.
“Russia needs to honour the agreement and withdraw its forces, and of course end military operations,” Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
A key point of the plan is the withdrawal of Russian armed forces to positions held before hostilities began in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia last week.
Russian forces were ignoring the stipulations.
Russian officers have justified the continued wide-ranging movements of Russian forces as necessary to maintain stability and security in the region.
The Russian Army’s General Staff in Moscow has repeatedly denied reports that Russian troops are still in Gori and Poti, despite witness accounts to the contrary.
Russian officials have conceded their forces are in Georgian military bases destroying material, but have adhered to a flimsy fiction that Russian troops are staying out of Georgian villages and cities.
“Presently we have no units in Gori or Poti,” Deputy Chief of Staff General Anatoly Nogovytsyn said, as reported by the Interfax news agency.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to arrive in Tbilisi Sunday for talks with the Georgian leadership on the ceasefire arrangement, and possible EU assistance to Georgia.