French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, speaks as Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili looks on during a press conference following their talks in Tbilisi, Georgia, early Wednesday. Georgia’s president says he agrees to an EU plan with Russia brokered by France for ending fighting in his country.
Early Wednesday morning, Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili agreed to a plan to stop the fighting that flared up Friday. However, the crisis isn’t over and the terms of the agreement aren’t all clear.
The New York Times:
If the agreement takes hold, Russia will have edged back from a confrontation that threatened to draw it into a cold-war-style conflict with Western nations. As things stand, a great goal has already been accomplished: Russia has asserted its ability to wrestle its neighbors to the ground at will, and—if not now, then later—resume its old role as the hegemon of the South Caucasus.
But Mr. Medvedev’s overtures on Tuesday left the door open to further military action. Russian authorities make no secret of their desire to see Mr. Saakashvili tried for war crimes in The Hague.
Mr. Medvedev has not called for a withdrawal, and expects Russian peacekeepers to remain in both South Ossetia and another separatist area to the west, Abkhazia. He also authorized Russian soldiers to fire on “hotbeds of resistance and other aggressive actions.” As the conflict cools and hardens, the two separatist regions could wind up permanently annexed by Russia.