France accuses Russia of violating Georgia ceasefire
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Thursday accused Russia of violating a ceasefire with Georgia and urged it to pull troops back to positions held before their conflict two years ago.
"According to the accords that we signed, Russian troops should withdraw to positions held prior to the conflict and this has not been done and we are continuing to pursue this effort," Kouchner said at a joint press conference with President Mikheil Saakashvili during a visit to Tbilisi.
Kouchner also reaffirmed France's support for Georgia's territorial integrity, which was challenged after the war by Russia's recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
"For us the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia... are Georgian regions and territories and we want to work as much as possible and in the most productive way possible... so that the regions are again Georgian. France's position is in no way ambiguous," Kouchner said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the ceasefire agreement that brought an end to the war, which saw Russian troops pour into Georgia to repel a Georgian military assault on Moscow-backed South Ossetia.
Georgia has accused Russia of violating the August 2008 ceasefire agreement by deploying thousands of troops in both rebel regions since the war, including in areas that were previously under Georgian control.
© 2010 AFP