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Georgia, Russia Accept Peace Plan


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart say they have agreed on a series of conditions aimed at paving the way for ending violence in Georgia and its breakaway provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The six-point plan allows for humanitarian aid workers to have unrestricted access to the region. Later, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has accepted the French-brokered peace plan calling for an immediate cease-fire with Russia. Emma Stickgold has this report from the VOA bureau in Moscow.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for Georgian and Russian troops to withdraw to pre-conflict positions, but said Russian troops will take extra security measures in the area until an international mechanism is put in place to carry out the same function.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said his primary goal in meeting with Mr. Medvedev was to call for an end to the fighting, which began last Friday.

Mr. Sarkozy called it an "emergency situation" and said his object was not to solve all the problems the region currently faces.

Mr. Medvedev said Russian military forces have achieved their objective in Georgia and that security for civilians and Russian troops permanently based in the region has been restored.

In a joint news conference with Mr. Sarkozy, the Russian president lashed out at the west for its support of Georgia in the conflict.

Mr. Mevedev said international law does not allow for the double standard of calling one person who takes the lives of thousands of people a terrorist, while another is considered to be a legally-elected president of a sovereign state.

The six-point proposal, which Sarkozy is now planning to take to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, also includes a call for international discussions about the fate of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia had come under increasing international pressure since launching a major air and ground attack against Georgia. The Russian military action followed a Georgian attack last Friday on the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Mr. Saakashvili says Russian troops continued to attack parts of his country, including a new attack on the central Georgian city of Gori, despite the Russian order handed down at mid-day Tuesday. Russia has denied those claims.

At a large Tblisi rally, Mr. Saakashvili also said Georgia will drop out of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of 10 former Soviet countries created after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

In the speech, Saakashvili also called for Ukraine to follow suit. Mr. Saakashvili said his government will declare the two breakaway regions of Georgia, "occupied territories".

Georgia and Russia are considering options for suing one another for war crimes through the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The recent violence was the worst to break out since South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1992. South Ossetians are eager to join fellow Ossetians in North Ossetia, which was put within Russian borders after the Soviet collapse.

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