08/19/2008, 00.00
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Georgia, no sign of Russian troop withdrawal

Despite agreeing to a gradual troop withdrawal starting from noon yesterday, Tbilisi denounces the heavy military presence of its foe on its soil. Putin orders borders closed between the two States, while international diplomacy searches for a solution to the crises.

Tbilisi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Not a single Russian tank has left Georgian soil, in spite of the agreement that set out the progressive withdrawal of troops as of noon yesterday, Monday August 18th, warns the Georgian government.  According to Tbilisi Moscow is flouting the pacts agreed to with the International Community, and has maintained its military force and army in Georgia.

Moreover this morning the Russian government ordered closed the only border crossing between the two nations, to avoid the entry of “foreign terrorists”.  In an order signed today by premier Putin, entrance from Russia to Georgia and Azerbaijan is only permitted to citizens’ of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), a group of former Soviet states who look to Moscow leadership.

In the interim Brussels is hosting an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the Georgian crises. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked them to send a clear signal to Moscow.  NATO however remains divided on the issue, failing to find common ground on the issue of sanctions against Russia, which Rice accuses of having “threatened Georgian democracy”. The international peace plan has six points: No more use of force; a stop to all military actions for good; Free access to humanitarian aid; Georgian troops return to their places of permanent deployment Russian troops to return to pre-conflict positions and International talks about security in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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