Withdraw or face serious consequences, Sarkozy warns Russia

August 18th, 2008 - 8:32 am ICT by IANS  

Paris, Aug 18 (DPA) French President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded that Russian troops withdraw “without delay” from Georgia, adding that “this point is not negotiable in my eyes”. In an article to appear in Le Figaro newspaper Monday, Sarkozy said he would convene a special European Union summit if Russia failed to remove its military troops that entered Georgia on and after Aug 7.

“If this clause of the ceasefire accord is not applied rapidly and totally, I would summon an extraordinary European Council to decide what consequences to draw,” the article said.

“We will also have to determine if Russia’s intervention against its Georgian neighbour was a brutal and excessive response,” he wrote, outlining broader and continuing engagement of the international community.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Sunday afternoon announced that withdrawals of his country’s troops from Georgia would begin Monday, apparently ignoring calls from the US and Germany for an immediate withdrawal.

Saturday, Medvedev signed a six-point EU-mediated peace plan, a day after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signed the document aimed at defusing the crisis in the Caucasus.

The plan was brokered by French President Sarkozy on behalf of the EU. The agreement is not a peace settlement but provides the basis for a legally binding text to end the fighting and pave the way for a political solution.

The UN Security Council is to formalize the six principles.

One of the key points 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.

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