[The Independent, U.K.]



Liberation, France

The Russian President 'Dictates His Peace' to Hapless Europe


"To see the look of seriousness on Sarkozy's face, it appeared that the French President was aware of having swallowed a substantial Russian snake … he recalled how much the world is counting on 'Russian power in the service of peace.' … Sarkozy had little ammunition to oppose the Russian show of force now underway."


By Moscow Correspondent Lorraine Millot


Translated By Sandrine Ageorges


August 13, 2008


France - Liberation - Original Article (French)

Nicolas Sarkozy has spared no effort. Yesterday evening he was in Tbilisi to convince the Georgian president, Mikhaïl Saakachvili, to accept the "peace plan" negotiated earlier in the day in Moscow. For nearly five hours yesterday [Tuesday], the E.U. President [Sarkozy] negotiated tirelessly with Dimitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, and finally emerged with a particularly daring project: it provides for the withdrawal Russia's intervention troops from Georgia, but leaves aside - at least for the moment - the hitherto sacrosanct principle of the territorial integrity of Georgia. Essentially, the war could end, but Georgia would no longer be entitled to recover its provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


Sarkozy and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev

hold a press conference in the Kremlin, Aug. 12. WATCH  


This is the first time that the principle of Georgian territorial integrity has disappeared from the draft of a settlement of an international conflict. Six principles were accepted by the two heads of state: the non- use of force; the definitive cessation of hostilities; access to humanitarian assistance; the return of Georgian forces to their previous barracks; the Russian withdrawal and the "opening of international discussions on the future status" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


"We'll be yelled at by everyone," predicted Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner as he emerged from talks at the Kremlin. Kouchner, leaving straight away for Tbilisi with Sarkozy, will now have to convince not only Georgia, but the twenty six other European Union countries that this compromise is not a new Munich that merely validates Russia's fait accompli. [Munich is a reference to the appeasement offered Hitler by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain before World War II ].




"For my part, this isn't giving in, but a form of lucidity," pleaded Nicolas Sarkozy, explaining that the goal was to immediately "resume a dialog" - not to "solve all problems." Sarkozy assured that he and Medvedev agreed on the principle of Georgian "sovereignty," and under a streamlined formula - with Russia's agreement, may well result in the detachment of the rebel provinces. 


Dimitri Medvedev confirmed quite clearly yesterday that Russia no longer wants to hear about Georgia's "territorial integrity," which at least on paper, was still until this war. Integrity is, "the desire of people to live in the same state," explained the Russian president. "It's a question that must satisfy Ossetians and Abkhazes, taking into account what has happened those past few days," Medvedev said, recalling the precedent set by Kosovo: a recent example of territorial secession endorsed by Westerners, to the great displeasure - at the time - of Russia.


SWALLOWING SNAKES. As if to drive in the nail even further - or confirm that the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan will be very difficult to accept for the Georgians - Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov then threatened Tbilisi with "new measures" if it rejected the six-point plan. But before Sarkozy arrived in Moscow yesterday, Medevedev said that Nicolas Sarkozy will always be able to say that he obtained a halt to the Russian bombings over Georgia. 



[Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]


To see the look of seriousness on Sarkozy's face, it appeared, however, that the French president was aware of having swallowed a substantial Russian snake. On the merits of the conflict, the French President added, "clearly, we haven't resolved the problem today," recalling rightly that a slew of diplomats had already broken their teeth on the conflict over the past fifteen years. Visiting as a friend of Russia, he recalled in a preamble to his meeting with Medvedev how much the world is counting on "Russian power in the service of peace." In any case, Nicolas Sarkozy had little ammunition to oppose the Russian show of force now underway.


RETORT. Asked about the pressure that Europeans could exert on Moscow, Bernard Kouchner was climbing the walls yesterday, accusing journalists of asking only "aggressive" questions. "What would you do? Send the Clémenceau? [an aircraft carrier ]. Send the gas back to Russia?," retorted the French diplomat, for the most part at a loss to outline what kind of European response could make Russia understand that bombing and occupying a neighboring states isn't acceptable.


Even the war in Georgia doesn't appear sufficient to change the European discourse about Russia: in public, yesterday at least, Nicolas Sarkozy refrained from any direct condemnation of the Russian operation, obviously continuing to believe that only a conciliatory attitude could mollify Moscow. Sarkozy ended by saying that if this plan manages to restore calm in the region, the European Union could deploy forces to monitor the peace. "Europe is available" for such a mission, he said. For the immediate future, however, the current E.U. president assessed that it is still "too early" to convene a summit of Heads of State and Government, which would discuss a European strategy for the region.




Not only aren't Europeans falling over themselves to intervene in Georgia, but the idea still appears unacceptable to Moscow: in this context and not without a great deal of cynicism, Dimitri Medvedev replied that Russian "peacekeeping forces" continue to fulfill their mission of intervention perfectly. Paid to be optimistic, French diplomats had to congratulate themselves last night that with this mediation mission, France, "is now back at the center of the world."






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Financial Times Deutschland, Germany

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Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Georgia: The Proxy War that Could Go Global


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East Europe Best Not Depend on 'Obsolete' NATO


Liberation, France

The Russian President 'Dictates His Peace' to Hapless Europe


Le Figaro, France

In South Ossetia, 'Kosovo Backfires'


Le Figaro, France

Between America and Russia, the E.U. is On the Front Line


Le Figaro, France

War in the Caucasus: Georgia 'Doesn’t Stand a Chance'


Kommersant, Russia

The Kremlin Offers 'an Ultimatum' to America




















































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US August 14, 6:35pm]