During a meeting with his Estonian and Latvian counterparts in Talinn on Thursday (28 August), Polish President Lech Kaczynski blasted the six-point peace plan negotiated with Russia by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for its failure to mention the need for Moscow to respect Georgia’s borders.
A copy of the peace plan, obtained by EURACTIV from the Presidency of Georgia, confirms that the short text does not mention the country’s territorial integrity. The document appears as a single sheet of paper bearing the signatures of French President Sarkozy and Mikheil Saakashvili, his Georgian counterpart . It reads:
- Do not resort to force.
- Definitively cease hostilities.
- Give free access to humanitarian aid.
- Georgian military forces must withdraw to their usual barracks.
- Russian military forces must withdraw to the lines occupied before the start of hostilities. Until an international mechanism is put in place, Russian peace keeping troops will implement the security measures.
- Open international discussions over security and stability modalities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
European security officials have already argued that the cease-fire agreement brokered by Sarkozy is so vaguely worded that Russia can argue that it is fulfilling its obligations under the pact, even if it does not withdraw troops to the positions they held before fighting broke out on 7 August.
They highlighted the fact that the document allows Russia to keep “peacekeepers” on the ground without defining either who they are or their responsibilities. It further allows these “peacekeepers” to pursue “security measures,” without defining what those might entail.
Russia also is benefiting from confusion over how many troops it had in Georgia before the fighting broke out.
According to media reports, an original draft for a cease-fire, proposed to Russian leaders by Alexander Stubb, Finnish foreign minister and chairman of the OSCE, contained four points, a cornerstone of which was respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, including the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
But the text was set aside when Sarkozy and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner cranked up their diplomatic activity, sources are quoted as saying.
Failure to mention Georgia’s territorial integrity ‘not an omission’, says Russia
Speaking to EURACTIV, Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizov said the fact that the six-point plan does not include a reference to the territorial integrity of Georgia is “not an omission”.
“Let me refer to the six-point plan of Presidents Medvedev and Sarkozy, which does not include a reference to territorial integrity. And it’s not a mistake, it’s not an omission, it was deliberate, I would say,” said Chizhov, stressing the Russian President’s role in drafting the text.
“Let me clarify. The document was a joint initiative by Sarkozy and Medvedev. It was not Sarkozy mediating between Medvedev and Saakashvili. It was Medvedev and Sarkozy mediating between Saakashvili and the Abkhazians and the South Ossetians. And of course it was co-written by Medvedev and Sarkozy. And it’s not that Sarkozy had forgotten about territorial integrity, no. But because by then territorial integrity had become a virtual notion regarding Georgia,” Chizov added.
The manner in which the six-points plan was brokered is also a source of complaints for Georgia.
Several versions of the peace plan
Speaking to EURACTIV a few days ago, Georgian Ambassador to NATO and the EU Salome Samadashvili commented:
“The Russians are usually very good at confusing everyone. If we are discussing a document, they produce three versions, because this is a very good way of creating confusion. What I know is that the cease-fire agreement which was brokered by the French President and which has also been signed by the French President could under no condition be considered as the same document which would be signed by the two leaders of the two criminal regimes,” she said.
Samadashvili added: “I can understand why the Russians were trying to portray this is if they were the mediator and not a party. Of course they were not given this opportunity. What we have endorsed is a ceasefire which was signed by the French as a mediator and by the Georgian and the Russian sides.”