Thursday, August 28, 2008
There has been quite a lot of talk about whether Russia has kept to the cease fire agreement or not. Perhaps the most interesting one was between Kirsty Wark & the Russian ambassador a few nights ago where she said that Russia, by recognising Ossetia & Abkhazia, had broken their undertaking not to change the legal situation without negotiation (point 6). His reply was that that point in the plan had been vetoed by the Georgian President. She said that since the Russians had initially put agreed to it they were bound by it which seems wrong to me. I think only the final agreement, as actually agreed by both parties can be binding on them.
This suggests the Russians would much rather have taken time over it & did envisage doing so.
One point is that though there has been so much discussion on this ceasefire agreement, the great success of Sarkozy in negotiating it & how the Russians weren't keeping to it, none of the press actually say what it entailed, which would seem to be basic to any discussion of whether it was being kept. I had to go to Russia Today for this summation
1) Non-use of force.
2) Stop all military action.
3) Free access to humanitarian aid.
4) Georgian troops return to their previous positions before the conflict.
5) Russian troops return to the lines they held before the start of the military operation. Before an international solution is worked out Russian peacekeepers are taking up an additional security role.
6) The start of an international discussion over the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
If point 6 actually wasn't agreed then it seems a remarkably simple thing & Russia has clearly kept to it when, had the wished, they could easily have marched into Tibilisi.
UPDATE BBC Radio News just said that the EU were considering what sanctions they could impose on Russia in light of the fact that Russia had failed to withdraw its troops as required by this agrement.