- Sarkozy calls for non-use of force commitment;
Russia said that with removal of its outpost from the village of Perevi the issue of "alleged non-compliance" with EU-mediated ceasefire agreement by Moscow had been "definitively closed."
“We hope that this move of the Russian side, aimed at reducing tensions on the borders of Georgia and South Ossetia, will receive adequate and constructive response from the Georgian side and the international community,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 19.
Tbilisi said Russia’s statement was “yet another cynical attempt” to avoid full implementation of its commitments under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement, which, among other issues, envisages pull back of the Russian troops on the pre-August war positions.
Georgia says that withdrawal from Perevi is only a tiny part of Russia’s commitments and, as Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Giga Bokeria put it, Perevi was only less than 1% of Georgia’s occupied territories.
Russia’s attempt to portray withdrawal from Perevi as a full implementation of its commitments “is doom for a failure,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said and added that the international community had already made it clear that Russia should fully comply with the agreement.
EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Russia’s withdrawal from Perevi and said in a statement on October 18: “I look forward to further progress towards the full implementation of the EU-brokered Six Point Agreement of 12 August 2008 and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008.”
French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, thanked his Russia counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, at a meeting in French seaside town of Deauville on October 19 for withdrawal from the village of Perevi and said it was “a significant step” and “a significant progress.”
Speaking at a joint news conference with the Russian President and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Deauville, Sarkozy also said that it would be good if Russia agreed on allowing international monitors to enter Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
At the same news conference Sarkozy, who mediated the August 12 six-point accord and its follow-up September 8, 2008 agreement, called on Georgia to undertake non-use of force commitment. The French President did not elaborate further on the issue.
Russia has long been insisting that Tbilisi should sign non-use of treaties with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, or at least should make unilateral written declaration on non-use of force. Georgia says that such commitment has already been undertaken under the six-point ceasefire agreement and there is no need for a separate treaty. Tbilisi is also against of signing such treaty with Tskhinvali and Sokhumi and says that even if such agreement is signed Russia should be part of the treaty and not, as Tbilisi puts it, “Russia’s proxy regimes” in Tskhinvali and Sokhumi. Tbilisi also insists that such treaty with Moscow should also envisage establishment of new international security arrangement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which eventually should lead to “complete de-occupation” of these two regions.
The issue is part of and one of the most contentious points in the Geneva talks.
The U.S. delegation in the Geneva talks mainly shares Tbilisi’s position saying that the six-point ceasefire agreement already “establishes the sides’ commitment to the non-use of force", which makes an additional, separate agreement “unnecessary”. According to the U.S. position on the matter, voiced after the eleventh round of Geneva talks in June 2010, another non-use of force agreement has to be “among the relevant parties, including the Russian Federation” and it should reflect concerns of all parties.