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Russia denies violating French-brokered peace deal with Georgia

RIA Novosti

29/08/2008 17:24 MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry rejected on Friday accusations from the other G8 members that Moscow has violated a peace deal brokered by France to end the recent conflict with Georgia.

The ministry's statement also called for "constructive dialogue" with partners in the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations.

Under the ceasefire deal signed in Moscow by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russia was to pull its troops back to their positions held before Georgia's August 8 attack on breakaway South Ossetia. However, Russia says the plan allowed for a continued "additional security measures" in a buffer zone within Georgia proper.

"As far as the six points of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan is concerned, Russia has complied with them all," the ministry said.

The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Britain adopted a declaration on Wednesday condemning Russia's "excessive use of military force" in Georgia.

The 'G7' statement also said Russia's recognition of the breakaway provinces had "called into question its commitment to peace and security in the Caucasus."

Responding to the allegation, the ministry said: "The opposite is true - the timely and decisive actions of the Russian leadership prevented a destabilization of the entire Caucasus region."

Russia officially recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday despite warnings from Western powers, saying the move was needed to protect the regions following Georgia's August 8 attack on South Ossetia.

The seven powers also said Russia's recognition "violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and is contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions supported by Russia." However, the ministry said this claim "ignores the arguments behind Russia's position, in favor of the difficult, but only right decision given the circumstances, to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

The current standoff, in which ties between NATO and Russia have been frozen, has sparked media speculation that the seven leading industrial powers could oust Russia from the Group of Eight. However, the G7 statement avoided any hint of such a move, and British Foreign Minister David Miliband stressed on Wednesday that there were no such plans.

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