The French President, Nikola Sarkozy, will now seek Georgia’s endorsement of the plan, which he said represented “a short-term solution.”
Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has endorsed six-point plan on ceasing hostilities in Georgia after meeting with his French counterpart, Nikola Sarkozy.
Medvedev read out six principles of the plan at a joint news conference with Sarkozy, who is expected to arrive in Tbilisi this evening to seek President Saakashvili’s endorsement as well.
“The first [principle] – a commitment not to use force,” President Medvedev said. “The second – complete cessation of military actions. The third – free access for humanitarian assistances. The fourth – return of the Georgian armed forces to the places of their permanent location. The fifth: the Russian armed forces will be pulled back on the line, preceding the start of hostalities and the Russian peacekeeping forces take additional security measures before creation of international mechanisms. The sixth: start of international discussions on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the ways of providing their stable security.”
He said that if the Georgian side is realistically prepared to sign and indeed withdraws its forces and implement these principles, “the way towards gradual normalization of situation in South Ossetia will be opened.”
“The Ball is in Tbilisi’s court,” he said.
Medvedev also said that Georgia’s claims that it had already ceased fire were “lies.”
The French President said at the news conference “our intention was not to sort out all the issues.
“We have tried to find solutions on paper that could allow us short-term means to achieve an agreement,” Sarkozy said. “This provisionary ceasefire can become the permanent one.”
President Sarkozy called on Russia “to guarantee the sovereignty of Georgia.”
When asked by a French journalist what about the respect of the territorial integrity, Sarkozy responded: “Georgia is an independent country. And this was confirmed to me [by President Medvedev]. The Russians have no intention of staying in Georgia.” He also repeated that the document was not designed for resolving all the issues immediately.
“Undoubtedly, Russia recognizes the sovereignty of Georgia,” President Medvedev said, “but that does not mean that a sovereign state should have possibility to do whatever it may think of.”
“The issue of territorial integrity is a very complicated matter,” he continued. “Territorial integrity means that people wish to live in the same state.”
He also said that it was up to Georgians, Ossetians and Abkhazians to decide whether they wanted to live in the same state or not.
“It is not up to the Russians to answer that, no other states can do that. It should be carried out in full compliance with norms of international law. Although in past years we have seen many ambiguous examples of appearance of new states on a map. Let’s look at Kosovo example. Therefore, this is the question that Ossetians and Abkhazians are to answer bearing in mind the history, bearing in mind the developments of the past few days,” Medvedev said.