The Russian head of state told his French colleague about the end of operations to oblige Georgian authorities to restore peace. Dmitry Medvedev stressed that the operations in South Ossetia have ended because they have achieved their main goal: to protect Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population.
The President of Russia declared that a final settlement to the conflict is possible provided that the following two conditions are fulfilled: the withdrawal of Georgian troops to their initial positions and the signing of a legally binding agreement abjuring the use of force.
Later on, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy continued their discussion of the situation in South Ossetia over a working lunch. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Russian and French foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Bernard Kouchner, and presidential aides Sergei Prikhodko and Jean-David Levitte also took part in the discussion.
Following negotiations which lasted more than four hours, the presidents of Russia and France made press statements and answered questions from journalists. In particular, the Russian head of state read out six principles for a settlement of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict that were developed during the negotiations:
– do not resort to the use of force;
– the absolute cessation of all hostilities;
– free access to humanitarian assistance;
– the Armed Forces of Georgia must withdraw to their permanent positions;
– the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation must withdraw to the line where they were stationed prior to the beginning of hostilities; prior to the establishment of international mechanisms the Russian peacekeeping forces will take additional security measures;
– an international debate on the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and ways to ensure their lasting security will take place.
Dmitry Medvedev stressed that if the Georgian party signs the document then the process to normalizing the situation in South Ossetia will have begun.