Sarkozy in Moskva: What did he achieve?
«on s'en va. Ce n'est pas négociable, nous ne pouvons pas accepter l'invasion d'un pays indépendant....les retrait des forces russes sur leurs positions du 7 août, c'est notre ligne rouge».
Nicolas Sarkozy in Moscow, as per Le Figaro, "Russie: Sarkozy a failli quitter la table des discussions," in www.lefigaro.fr
It would appear from the discussions held on Monday in Moskva that the Kremlin, after a bit of hard bargaining (whether in reality or just for show is a different issue...), gave in to EU entreaties by agreeing to withdraw its troops from Georgia proper by the end of the current month. Whether Sarkozy's threat to 'on s'en va,' forced Medvedev's hand, or whether this particular Russian concession was always intended to be used at some point or other, is of course impossible to say. All we can do, is to congratulate Sarkozy and the EU President Barroso, for not caring to indulge in the Cheney line of recriminations and invective vis-`a-vis Medvedev & Putin. On essentials of course, Russia has not given anything that it really wanted to give up. Indeed, the more cynically inclined are not even sure that Russian forces will withdraw to the lines agreed to on Monday. Such cynicism being confirmed by today's decision that in the future both South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be garrisoned, not by Russian 'peacekeepers', but by regulars (see the relevant article in Novosti "Regular Troops to be deployed in Abkhazia, South Ossetia - Lavrov," in www.en.rian.ru). However given the subsequent decision by the EU today in Ukraine to forgo offering Kiev a clear path to membership in talks today in Kiev (see: www.ft.com), and, the decision by the American administration to take a more measured line towards Matushka Russia in the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian War (see: "U.S. Rules Out Unilateral Steps Against Russia," in www.nytimes.com), it appears that Russia has correctly judge the right time for a concession on the Georgian issue, whether real or imaginary we shall see soon enough. For now all one can do is to congratulate the French President on his diplomatic fortitude. And, hope that Moskva's willingness to talk and respond to its EU partners, will be reciprocated by, if not all, then most of the latter. For that also we shall see soon enough.