Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russian troops have no
timetable for withdrawing from Georgia under a cease-fire agreement
both sides have signed. Lavrov told reporters in Moscow today the
pullout is contingent on the security situation in the region. Emma
Stickgold has this report for VOA from Moscow.
Dmitry Medvedev signed the six-point agreement in Sochi, the Black Sea
resort town that is home to a presidential summer residence.
the terms of the agreement, both sides will pull back their armed
forces to the positions held before the fighting broke out earlier this
month, when Georgia launch a massive attack on the Russia-backed
breakaway province South Ossetia.
A Ministry of Defense spokesman General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said the conditions for work to begin are now in place.
said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the document with the
peace agreement today and it has already been signed by Russia and
Georgia without any changes made.
But, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov told journalists Saturday that there was no set timetable
for the withdrawal of Russian troops, saying it will take "as long as
needed," depending, in part, on what he described as "additional
Earlier, Nogovitsyn said that Russian
peacekeepers will never leave the Georgian breakaway regions of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia. He denied Georgia's allegations that Russia
bombed a key railway bridge west of the capital Tbilisi hours before
Moscow signed the cease-fire agreement.
Television images showed a portion of the Kaspi region bridge destroyed.
say Russian troops remain entrenched deep in Georgian territory, away
from the Abkhazian and South Ossetian borders, and that they still
surround the key city of Gori.
The United States demanded on
Friday that Russia pull out of Georgia immediately, accusing Moscow of
"bullying" its tiny southern neighbor by sending in troops and tanks.
Saturday, U.S. President George Bush called Russia's response to
Georgia's actions "completely unacceptable," in his weekly radio
address. Mr. Bush said that the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia must remain part of Georgia.