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Controversy over Ceasefire Deal Interpretation and ‘Buffer Zones’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 22 Aug.'08 / 18:44

Georgia has insisted the Russian troops to carry out “additional security measures” – as envisaged by the six-point ceasefire agreement – only within the 15-km conflict zone around Tskhinvali.

Eka Tkeshelashvili, the Georgian foreign minister, said on August 22, that opening of stationary checkpoints outside the zone would be a violation of the accord.

She was citing the six-point ceasefire agreement – brokered by France on behalf of EU - and a letter of guarantee and clarification sent by the French President Nikola Sarkozy to his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili, before the latter signed the accord.

Tkeshelashvili said that the letter was saying it “very clearly” that the Russian troops have the right to carry out only patrolling “few kilometers” away from South Ossetia administrative border. She underlined that the letter did not mention any stationary checkpoints, only patrolling.

This “few kilometers,” she continued, referrers to the 15-km radius around Tskhinvali, the capital of breakaway region.

Neither the six-point accord nor the French President’s letter specifies area within the “few kilometers.” The letter, however, says that neither town of Gori nor key east-west highway can be included in this zone.

Russia, however, has already stated that “the zone of Russian peacekeepers’ responsibility” would be much wider than only just 15-km radius around Tskhinvali. Russia also claims to be acting in frames of the six-point accord.

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