Global Politics

French diplomacy with Russia

(Will this agreement be implemented or is it a hopeful sign no matter what?) It is a hopeful sign but Sarkozy's visit is doing what is possible. The Russians will not take back their recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but Russia has agreed to take back some troops from Georgia proper. That is as far as it goes, and we'll see if the withdrawal takes effect within a month. One of the problems of the original ceasefire agreement is that it was extremely vague and so it's not clear yet if today's discussions have resolved those problems. (Why does Russia appear to be making concessions if the E.U. doesn't have much leverage?) The Russians want to appear reasonable, they presumably don't intend to exert their stranglehold on Georgia forever. What Sarkozy has said today though is that Russia does make these basic moves, then European-Russian talks could take place in October. So cynics might say Russians appear to being rewarded for lesser steps than the original ceasefire. (Will this dial back the tensions between Russia and the West?) If there can be some sort of compromise on the ceasefire, it will dial down the tensions. More immediately, everyone is trying to exert pressure on Russia, and the U.S. has certainly tried to do as much, pulling one key agreement with Russia.

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