News

France Says Russia to Begin Troop Pullout From Georgia Monday

Multimedia

Audio

Russia's president said Sunday that Russian troops will begin pulling out of Georgia on Monday, as Western leaders called on Moscow to abide by its commitments under a cease-fire deal. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who brokered the truce, warned the Russian leader that failure to implement the cease-fire would have "serious consequences" for Russian ties with the European Union. Emma Stickgold has this report for VOA from Moscow.

French President Sarkozy's office confirmed that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev vowed in a telephone conversation with the French leader to begin moving troops out of Georgia on Monday.

A statement from the French president's office noted that the cease-fire deal, signed Saturday, requires the withdrawal of all Russian forces, "which have entered Georgia since August 7." It said the two presidents also agreed on deployment as soon as possible of international observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Fighting began August 7 between Georgian troops and separatists in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Georgian forces say they acted after coming under Russian fire. Russia says it moved into Georgia to protect its citizens in South Ossetia, many of whom have been given Russian passports.

It was not clear Sunday whether Russia intends to withdraw from South Ossetia and another separatist region in Georgia, Abkhazia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Georgia can forget about getting back the separatist regions. On Sunday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Georgia would not give up those regions.

"As I said and one thing will be made very clear, Georgia will never give up any square mile/kilometre of its territory," said Mr. Saakashvili. "No matter what happens, we will never reconcile with the fact of annexation, or indeed separation of parts of territory from Georgia with the attempt to legalize ethnic cleansing, and with the attempts to bring Georgia to its knees and undermine our democratic system."

Mr. Saakashvili also said Russian troops staying in the separatist regions cannot be called "peacekeepers" after the events of the past week. He spoke at a joint news conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who urged a prompt withdrawal of Russian troops.

The cease-fire agreement, brokered by the French President in his capacity as head of the European Union, calls for troops to return to their pre-conflict positions, and allows Russian peacekeepers to patrol parts of South Ossetia.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that the cease-fire agreement allows Russian troops stationed as peacekeepers to stay temporarily in some areas, until European monitors arrive.  
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs