Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saakashvili's conditional unconditional ceasefire

It turns out that Saakashvili's ceasefire offer includes a demand for Russian withdrawal from South Ossetia. He must know they'll refuse.

The Herald newspaper reports :

Yesterday's military developments came as Saakashvili said he had signed an internationally-brokered ceasefire proposal that will be taken to Moscow by the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will also visit Moscow today in another attempt to broker a ceasefire.

A Georgian National Security Council official said the document signed by Saakashvili called for an unconditional ceasefire, a non-use of force agreement and a withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory, including the South Ossetia region.

Whether Russia will agree to a ceasefire even if Georgia makes an unconditional offer remains to be seen. Putin may well be aiming at installing a pro-Russian government in Georgia anyway, but until Saakashvili makes a genuine unconditional ceasefire offer we won't know, it'll be impossible for the EU to put much effective pressure on Russia and people will keep dying.

So does Saakashvili want peace or is he determined to try to reconquer South Ossetia at all costs?

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