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    France accuses Russia of failing to meet EU-backed Georgia truce

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    Russia is not meeting its obligations under the peace plan aimed at resolving the conflict between Georgia and Russia over breakaway regions of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, the French foreign minister said Thursday.

    MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is not meeting its obligations under the peace plan aimed at resolving the conflict between Georgia and Russia over breakaway regions of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia, the French foreign minister said Thursday.

    The so-called Medvedev-Sarkozy ceasefire plan stipulates that EU observers should be able to monitor the situation on the border between Georgia and its former regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but so far only Georgia has allowed their deployment.

    "The observers must be present on both sides. It is necessary because the situation in the region remains volatile," Bernard Kouchner said in an interview on Echo Moskvy radio.

    "We [the European Union] do not want to wage war, we do not have heavy artillery," the French diplomat said. "These [the observers] are forces of peace."

    The Medvedev-Sarkozy plan was adopted on August 12 and amended on September 8, 2008, following a five-day war between Russia and Georgia, which attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under the control of Tbilisi.

    In line with the peace deal, Russia withdrew its forces from the so-called 'buffer zones' in Georgia and insisted that it had fully implemented the terms of the plan, which required that all troops return to their pre-conflict positions.

    Moscow also recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states on August 26 last year, and concluded a host of agreements with both republics, including on military assistance and protection of borders under which hundreds of Russian soldiers have been stationed in the republics.

    The European Union still considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be Georgian territory, though.

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution last fall calling on Russia to retract its recognition of the regions, but President Dmitry Medvedev has called the decision irreversible.

    PACE said on Tuesday that there had been "little tangible progress" in addressing the consequences of the war and accused Russia of not complying with most of the key demands placed upon it.

    PACE insisted that Russia should give EU monitors unrestricted access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia before the end of the year.

    It also said in a new resolution, adopted by 80 votes to 36, that Russia should lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid to the two regions and let Georgian civilians move freely across the boundary lines.

    However, PACE declined to approve on Thursday Georgia's motion to deprive Russia of voting rights for failure to fulfill its demands that Moscow revokes its recognition of Georgia's breakaway republics as independent states.

     

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