France claims Russia has violated some terms of ceasefire with Georgia

Friday, October 10, 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

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner has claimed that Russia has failed to honour obligations agreed as part of a ceasefire brokered by the European Union. The deal ended a war with Georgia.

In August, Russian troops joined on South Ossetia's side after Georgia moved in in an attempt to regain control of the breakaway region. Russia also moved troops into Abkhazia and nearby areas to create security zones. These buffer zones were vacated by troops this week, and today Russia was due to completely withdrawal from Georgia.

France - who lead the brokering efforts as the EU's current presidential nation - say that Russian troops remain in the South Ossetian towns of Akhalgori and Perevi. According to the ceasefire, troops were supposed to return to their positions before the five-day conflict. However, Kouchner's phrasing was optimistic as he spoke to reporters today.

When asked if Russia had withdrawn, he said "I think so, but partly. This is not complete. This is not perfect. It's just the beginning. This is not the end," and that "Not everything has been achieved... That's why we'll continue talks in Geneva."

However, Russia's President, Dmitry Medvedev, says Russia has fully complied with the terms agreed on. "We have met all the obligations we accepted in the first document, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan, and the second document, which was agreed on not long ago in Moscow," he told reporters. Russia has recognized South Ossetia as an independent nation, and had entered into a supporting military alliance.