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Russian, French presidents to hold talks on Georgia in Moscow

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The presidents of Russia and France will hold a meeting in Moscow on Monday to discuss developments in the Caucasus following the recent South Ossetia conflict.
MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) - The presidents of Russia and France will hold a meeting in Moscow on Monday to discuss developments in the Caucasus following the recent South Ossetia conflict.

Ahead of the French president's visit, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said "Nicolas Sarkozy would like to continue discussing the developments in the Caucasus" with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev signed a six-point ceasefire deal during Sarkozy's visit on August 12, under which Russia was to pull its troops back to the positions they held before Georgia's August 8 attack on breakaway South Ossetia. However, Russia says the plan allows for a continued "additional security measures" in a buffer zone within Georgia proper.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the "amended" document signed by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili bears no relation to that signed by Russia. In particular, he said that plans for discussions on the regions' future status, included in the sixth point of the document, were removed from the amended text.

The French delegation also includes European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. The group will later travel to Tbilisi.

Nesterenko said he was "not authorized" to comment on other issues to be on the Medvedev-Sarkozy agenda.

Moscow said hundreds of civilians were killed in Georgia's attack on South Ossetia, and thousands fled the devastated region.

Russia's General Staff said 64 servicemen were killed and 323 injured in its operation to force Georgia to peace in South Ossetia.

On August 26, Russia recognized South Ossetia and another Georgian breakaway republic, Abkhazia, as independent states.

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