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    Bush Says Russia Must Honor Georgia Pullout Agreement

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    Bush Says Russia Must Honor Georgia Pullout Agreement

    Post by sang_garuda on Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:10 am

    Aug. 16-- President George W. Bush said Russia must abide by an accord to pull its military out of Georgia amid signs the forces were maintaining their positions.

    Russian troops and armored vehicles were ``continuing to move freely around Georgia,'' the nation's Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said in Tbilisi. In Kaspi, a town 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Georgian capital, Russian troops today drew back 500 meters from the center and stayed there.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today signed a European Union-brokered agreement aimed at ending hostilities with Georgia, spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said. Russia's incursion into its Caucasus neighbor began Aug. 8 in response to a Georgian offensive to restore control over the breakaway South Ossetia region.

    ``It's a hopeful step,'' Bush said today about the accord after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at his Crawford, Texas, ranch. ``Now Russia needs to honor the agreement and withdraw its forces.''

    Bush reiterated that South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, must remain part of Georgia. No country has recognized either region since they split away from Georgia in wars after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia has had peacekeepers in both areas since then and expelled all Georgian forces from the territories in the recent fighting.

    Medvedev met in Moscow on Aug. 14 with South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity and Sergei Bagapsh, the leader of Abkhazia, and said in televised comments that Russia will support the decisions of the two regions on their legal status.

    Buffer Zone

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was more equivocal later, saying in a Bloomberg Television interview that Russia's recognition of the two regions as independent states is ``an open question.'' He said Russia wants to keep a buffer zone inside Georgia to protect South Ossetia.

    Withdrawal from Georgia will take ``as long as necessary,'' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi today. Troops will be withdrawn once ``extra measures on security are taken,'' he said.

    The Russian army continues to stumble on groups of armed Georgian men in military and civilian clothing and is still finding snipers, the deputy chief of Russia's General Staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, told reporters today in Moscow.

    Bridge Mined

    The Georgian Foreign Ministry accused ``troops of the occupation army'' of blowing up a railway bridge in the Kaspi district. The forces ``mined and exploded'' the Metekhi-Grakali span, severing rail links between Georgia's east and west, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site. Nogovitsyn denied the Russian military's involvement in the incident.

    The peace agreement called for Russia to begin withdrawing forces as soon as it was signed. Rice, who visited Georgia yesterday, said today that if the Russians haven't begun to pull back yet, they ``are perhaps already not honoring their word.''

    Bush reaffirmed U.S. support for Georgia in a telephone call with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili later today, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. Saakashvili had called bush to discuss the situation, Johndroe said.

    Medvedev told Finnish President Tarja Halonen in a telephone conversation that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should increase its role in South Ossetia to help ease the conflict, according to the Russian president's press service.

    Monitors Sought

    Finland holds the chairmanship of OSCE, a group of 56 countries including Russia, Georgia, the U.S. and other European nations, and Rice said yesterday she urged the organization to send monitors ``fast.''

    Russian troops moved into three Georgian towns -- Kaspi, Borjomi and Khashuri -- after Georgia signed the cease-fire yesterday, Saakashvili told reporters in Tbilisi late yesterday. He said Russian troops still control one-third of Georgian territory.

    Cities and the country north of Tbilisi today bore signs of the armed conflict between the two former Soviet Republics. In the villages and towns around Gori, which was hit hardest by the war, shops were shuttered, streets were deserted, while hay fields were still burning. Russian tanks and armored cars control strategic points along the road to the Georgian capital.

    Transport Hub

    A reporter for Bloomberg News was among a group of journalists traveling with the Russian military at the government's invitation. Gori, about 30 kilometers from South Ossetia, is the transport hub that connects Georgia's east and west.

    The West sees Georgia as a key ally in the region, in part because it has a pipeline that carries Caspian Sea crude oil to Western markets, bypassing Russia. The U.S. backs Georgia's bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a step Russian leaders view as a security threat.

    Russia's actions are ``unacceptable'' U.K. Conservative opposition leader David Cameron told reporters in Tbilisi today. ``The West must stand as one'' against the challenge to Georgia's sovereignty, he said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the Russian military offensive against Georgia as ``disproportionate,'' after talks with Medvedev in Sochi yesterday.

    The United Nations estimates the number of people displaced by the conflict is approaching 115,000, according to a statement on its Web site yesterday. Two days ago, the UN children's fund, Unicef, put the number of refugees at about 100,000.

    Flight to Georgia

    The latest figures show that 30,000 people uprooted from South Ossetia remain in Russia, while as many as 15,000 fled south into undisputed Georgian territory, the UN said, citing data provided by Russian and Georgian officials.

    About 68,000 people are displaced in the rest of Georgia, according to the statement. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres will visit Georgia and Russia next week to discuss operations there.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with senior advisers in New York earlier today ``to discuss the UN approach to the situation in Georgia,'' according to a statement from his office.

    Ban also is having separate conversations with the president of the Security Council, its member ambassadors and Georgia's representative, the UN said. The statement didn't give specifics.

    NATO Meeting

    Johndroe said ``consultations continue'' over the issue at the UN.

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, whose 26 member nations overlap with much of the EU, also plans a meeting of foreign ministers on Aug. 19 in Brussels, at the request of the U.S. The Bush administration is seeking confirmation of NATO's declaration at its April summit that Ukraine and Georgia ``will become members of NATO.''

    With military action officially declared over, both the Russian and Georgia militaries have become more involved with civilian aid. Russia sent nine road convoys and 70 airplane flights into South Ossetia to distribute food and medical supplies, Russian Deputy Emergency Minister Ruslan Tsalikov said in Moscow today.

    Switzerland became the latest country to pledge assistance, Tsalikov said, adding to aid from Kazakhstan and Belarus. Negotiations with the Red Cross about installing a mobile hospital for refugees are continuing, he said.

    Cease-Fire Terms

    The EU cease-fire plan calls for the withdrawal of Georgian and Russian troops, renunciation of the use of force, an end to all military operations and a commitment to making humanitarian aid freely available in the conflict zone.

    The International Court of Justice yesterday urged Russia and Georgia to withhold actions until a hearing next month on a Georgian complaint about Russian military operations on its territory. Georgia on Aug. 12 filed a case with the Hague-based tribunal accusing Russia of ethnic cleansing in its breakaway regions since 1990 and asked for provisional measures. The UN principal court has scheduled hearings for Sept. 8-10.

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    Re: Bush Says Russia Must Honor Georgia Pullout Agreement

    Post by Prodip2007 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:16 am

    ------||------------||------nice sharing bro.Tq u bro...Tq u very much...Keep up bro------||------------||------

      Waktu sekarang Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:49 pm