Troop withdrawal to complete by Friday: Medvedev

August 20th, 2008 - 2:51 am ICT by IANS  

Paris, Aug 20 (DPA) The promised withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia will be completed by Friday (Aug 22), Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.The withdrawal will be total with the exception of 500 troops as a security measure for the local population, said Medvedev in a joint statement with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris Tuesday evening.

Medvedev reaffirmed his approval of the deployment of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Georgia, saying that they should work “within the temporary security zone”. France plans to send observers as part of the OSCE team.

Earlier Russia and Georgia exchanged prisoners as Russian troops slowly began pulling out of the conflict region in Georgia.

The Russian military also said that the withdrawal was being delayed to avoid creating a power vacuum that could lead to further violence in northern Georgia.

“We clearly state that we will fulfill our obligations agreed to in the six-point plan, but we shall do so at a tempo dictated by conditions on the ground,” Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoly Nagovitsyn told a Moscow press briefing Tuesday.

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