Russia signed the ceasefire agreement
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev followed the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili and signed the ceasefire agreement on Saturday. The peace plan document was originally drafted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France. Medvedev announced having signed the document during a meeting of the Russian Security Council.
The truce was signed by Saakashvili on Friday, after a long meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Following the meeting, a press conference was held in which Saakashvili stated that he had signed the accord. But he pointed out that “this is not a done deal. We need to do our utmost to deter such behaviour in the future.”
By signing the agreement, both sides agree to pull back their forces to pre-conflict positions. 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 Georgian break-away province of South Ossetia on August 7 to aid the rebels who had been battling Georgian troops. On August 11, Russian troops landed in Abkhazia and Ossetia advanced far beyond South Ossetia’s borders into Georgian home turf and stopped only about 30 miles from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.
Initially Medvedev said that he had ordered Russian troops to begin leaving Georgia on August 11. However, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov refused to put a timetable on the withdrawal of Russian forces from deep inside Georgia and stated that their departure depended on extra security measures being put in place. Lavrov also said Russia would strengthen its contingent in South Ossetia.
In a letter to Saakashvili, Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that according to the signed peace plan, Russian forces are obliged to withdraw from all major Georgian towns regardless of the “additional security measures” mentioned in the document. According to Sarkozy, these additional measures refer to the border area only. At the same time Georgian internal affairs ministry reported that Russian forces changed the administrative borders of Abkhazia, and captured one of the Georgian power plants in the area. It is also reported that Russian forces destroyed the strategic Georgian rail bridge in Kaspi.
According to Lavrov, the document Saakashvili signed differed from the one signed by Medvedev, lacking its introductory part.