Peace Deal Opened Door to Russian Advance

Russian 'peacekeepers' given wide latitude in new pact
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2008 4:22 AM CDT
Soldiers secure a Russian military convoy outside Gori, Georgia, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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(Newser) – A Russian convoy was headed deeper into Georgia within hours of a new peace deal thanks to a big loophole in the agreement, Andrew E. Kramer writes in the New York Times. The deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy allows Russian peacekeepers to implement unspecified "additional security measures,” giving them plenty of room to maneuver, Kramer reports. Russian troops quickly took up posts in the key Georgian city of Gori.

The Russians were able to insist on the vague provision because they were negotiating from a position of strength, notes Kramer. When Georgian negotiators pushed for more safeguards, Sarkozy reportedly warned them: "Their tanks are 40 kilometers from Tbilisi. This is where we are.” The Georgians signed the deal and the Russian "peacekeepers" were on the move again soon afterward.