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August 15, 2008

Georgia Signs Ceasefire; Russia...Keeps Closing In on Tbilisi

Diplomacy with Russia continues to bear fruit:

A reluctant Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Friday he signed a cease-fire agreement with Russia and declared in the presence of the chief U.S. diplomat that the West had behaved in ways that invited the invasion.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she had been assured that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will sign an identical document. The United States says the pact protects the former Soviet republic's interests despite concessions to Moscow.

So the war is over, yay! What? Russia is still moving forces towards Tbilisi? Secretary Rice is reported to have said, "Non, non. I have ze, how you say, ze assurances of ze Russians zet eet is done."

President Bush and Secretary Rice have been saying that the parties must return to the status quo ante bellum. But the ceasefire does not do that.

Now they have been forced to back down on the key issues of the mandate of Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, which did not previously include outside patrols, and the territorial integrity question, which Russia ostensibly accepted before but no longer does. [...]

The cease-fire would allow Russian peacekeepers who were in South Ossetia before the fighting broke out to stay and to patrol temporarily in a strip of up to 6.2 miles, or 10 kilometers, outside, officials said.

Of course, when you lose a war you are hardly in any position to dictate terms.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 05:02 PM

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