Ceasefire signed in Georgian-Russian conflict

Friday, August 15, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie

The President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili had signed a ceasefire agreement today in the presence of United States (US) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mikheil Saakashvili

An identical document, requiring the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Georgian soil, is expected to be signed by Russia. Saakashvili stated that Georgia would "never, ever surrender" to Russia. The ceasefire document was originally drafted under the supervision of Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France.

Saakashvili has stated that NATO had been "inviting Russian aggression" by rejecting Georgia's attempt to enter NATO back in April of this year. Meanwhile, in a report promptly denied by Russian officials, the Human Rights Watch said it had evidence that Russia attacked populated areas of Georgia with internationally banned cluster bombs.

Rice arrived in Georgia on Friday, and according to Saakashvili, the pair met for about five hours. Following the meeting, a press conference was held in which Saakashvili stated that he had in fact signed the accord. But he pointed out that "this is not a done deal. We need to do our utmost to deter such behavior in the future."

Rice has demanded that Russian forces withdraw from Georgia immediately. The accord also provides protection for Georgia and a "reconstruction plan", as well as allowing certain concessions to Russia.

Russia advanced into the break-away province of South Ossetia on August 7 to aid the South Ossetian rebels who had been battling Georgian troops. On the 11th of August Russian troops advanced into Georgian home turf from their base in Abkhazia. Medvedev said that he had ordered Russian troops to begin leaving Georgia on August 11.