President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday that Russia will start withdrawing its troops from Georgia Monday, the Kremlin said.
Medvedev told his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation that Georgia must abide by its commitment to withdrawing military units to their home bases unconditionally, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet for talks at the presidential residence at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, August 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
The two presidents discussed the implementation of the six-point plan for settling the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, it said.
The Kremlin statement came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Tbilisi on a brief visit to Georgia. Her trip to Tbilisi was preceded by visits of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Merkel will hold talks with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on the implementation of the French-brokered peace plan, the Georgian government office told the Interfax news agency.
Medvedev on Saturday signed the peace plan, which was earlier signed by Saakashvili and the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway regions of of Georgia.
The document bans the use of force and any military action and envisages free access to humanitarian aid. Under the agreement, Georgian troops should return to their bases and the Russian military should pull back to its previous positions.
Russian troops ride atop armored vehicles near the village of Khurcha heading towards the border of Georgia in breakaway region of Abkhazia August 10, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday the pace of Russian withdrawal would depend on "how extra security measures for the peacekeeping force are being put into practice on the ground."
Russia declared a halt to its military offensive in Georgia Tuesday after days of conflicts with the Caucasus nation in South Ossetia.
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2008)