So How’s that cease fire going so far? Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, August 16, 2008
If you ask the Georgian government, not so well. And the sovereignty thing? Fuggitaboudit:
Georgia's Foreign Ministry said late Saturday that Russian-backed separatists from the province of Abkhazia have seized a power plant and 13 villages in Georgia.
A ministry statement said Russian army units and separatist militants shifted the border of breakaway Abkhazia toward the Inguri River. It says they set up temporary administration in 13 villages and put the Inguri hydropower plant under separatist control.
You remember the Russian Foreign Minister's pronouncment about Georgian sovereignty, don't you? Two words sums it up nicely - "forget it".
Earlier Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a cease-fire agreement with Georgia, a day after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili reluctantly signed the plan that calls for Russian troops to pull back, but that also grants them limited patrols inside Georgia.
Anyone doubt that those 13 villages will remain under the effective control of Russia Abkhazia?
Consider what the conditions of the cease fire are:
Rice consulted with Saakashvili about details of the cease-fire, which requires Russia to withdraw its combat forces from Georgia but allows Russian peacekeepers to remain in the breakaway region of South Ossetia and conduct limited patrols outside the region.
The draft document also does not commit Russia to respecting Georgia's territorial integrity, but rather refers to Georgian independence and sovereignty, meaning Moscow does not necessarily accept that South Ossetia and the other rebel region Abkhazia, are Georgian.
Officials say the eventual status of the two areas will be worked out under existing United Nations Security Council resolutions which recognize Georgia's international borders and Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian.
The U.S. and its allies had been pushing for Russia to agree to restore the situation in Georgia to the status quo ante, or how it stood before Georgian troops moved into South Ossetia last week prompting Russia's severe response and seven days of bloodshed.
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.
U.S. officials concede the agreement is not perfect but maintain it will get Russian combat troops out of Georgia, hopefully in a matter of days.
"It will be a major accomplishment for Georgia to get the Russians out of their country and back effectively to the status quo ante," Rice said.
In addition to the cease-fire document, Rice brought with her a letter signed by Sarkozy that clarifies the special security measures that Russian peacekeepers will be allowed to take on Georgian soil, officials said.
If ever there was an oxymoron in this situation, it is "Russian peacekeeper". If ever there was a garden variety moron in the situtation, it would appear to be the West. That is the best deal that could be brokered? My goodness that agreement essentially changes the status quo ante completely by giving the Russians everything they want.
If that's how we conduct diplomacy, my recommendation is we stick to waging war.