International

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Dmitry Astakhov/AP
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, European
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and French Foreign Minister Bernard
Kouchner, from left, meet in Medvedev's residence outside Moscow on Monday,
Sept. 8, 2008.

Russia Consents to Deadline for Withdrawal from Georgia

September 08, 2008 05:05 PM
by Josh Katz
A month after fighting began in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, Russia stated Monday that it will pull its troops out of Georgia in the course of one month.

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French President Nicholas Sarkozy fashioned the agreement with Russian President Dmitry Medevedev. According to Sarkozy, Russia will withdraw troops from all but two Georgian regions, and international talks on the status of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia will commence October 15, Agence France-Presse reports.

Although Medvedev signed a cease-fire agreement with Georgia last month, Russia has not left the country, and Georgian officials have claimed that Russia has continued military action against them. Russia has said that its remaining troops in Georgia have provided “additional security measures.”

Relations between Russia and the United States continue to be tense, and the U.S. halted a much-heralded nuclear pact with Moscow because Russia’s troops have remained in Georgia.

On August 26, Russia fanned the flames by officially recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The fighting began in early August. On August 7, Georgia responded to opposition in South Ossetia by launching a military offensive to assert control over the region. Russia says it sent in its military to defend Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia after several died in the Georgian offensive.

During the five-day conflict, Russia earned international criticism for bombing the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and launched air strikes on the Georgian military and transportation center of Gori, where Russian troops are amassing, in addition to battling the Georigan military in South Ossetia where the fighting began.

On Russian television, Medvedev said his military had punished Georgia for its aggressive actions and had protected civilians and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia.

The conflict stems from the separatist unrest Georgia faced in Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, Georgian troops were forced out of the region, and Russia has tacitly supported Georgian opposition movements ever since. Russia has also pressured other members of NATO to deny Georgia membership.

Headline Links: Recent developments in Georgia

Russia agrees to new timetable for withdrawal
Russia says it will withdraw but attacks continue
Military operations

Background: Tensions between Georgia and Russia mount in April

Related Topics: Russia upset over U.S. missile defense plans; the ‘color revolutions’

Reference: Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia

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