Russia agrees troops pullout from Georgia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed at Moscow talks on Monday to pull his troops out of Georgia proper within a month, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said.
Last month's Russian invasion, sending troops deep into Georgia in response to an attempt by Tbilisi to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia, aroused condemnation in the West and raised fears for the security of energy supplies.
Medvedev said Russia had received guarantees from European Union countries, represented by rotating president France, that Georgia would refrain from any use of force to try to regain control of pro-Russian South Ossetia.
Medvedev said, after meeting Sarkozy and an EU delegation at his official residence outside Moscow, there was an agreement in principle to deploy a 200-strong EU monitoring contingent to discuss the fallout of the Georgia conflict.
Sarkozy said Russia had agreed to remove checkpoints around Georgia's Poti port -- a particular source of alarm in the West -- within a week.
"In one week, the checkpoint (is to be) dismantled. In one month, Russian military forces (are to be) outside Georgian territory, with the exception naturally of Ossetia and Abkhazia," said Sarkozy.
Russia sent its troops deep into Georgia in a five-day war last month which began when Tbilisi tried to restore by force its rule over the South Ossetia region that broke with Georgia in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Sarkozy, representing the European Union, brokered a ceasefire. The West accused Moscow of failing to abide by it, in keeping its troops inside 'core Georgia'; but Moscow said its remaining forces were guarding against disorder in line with provisions in the pact.
Sarkozy said if Russia implemented its promise there would be no reason for EU-Russia talks not to go ahead in October.
In contrast to Russia's conciliatory tone with the EU over Georgia, tensions with the United States flared on Monday when Russia said it was sending warships including a heavy nuclear cruiser for exercises in the Caribbean Sea.
Russia has complained about the presence of U.S. naval vessels off its coast in the Black Sea, but Moscow denied the deployment to the Caribbean, during which its warships will dock in Venezuela, was in any way connected.
The European Union has warned it will suspend talks on a new partnership pact unless Moscow pulls its forces from Georgia. But the 27-member bloc has limited scope for influencing the Kremlin because it depends on Russia for its energy supplies.