Georgia: Sarkozy says "withdrawal must be carried out without delay, this point is not negotiable"

Europe is stepping up the verbal offensive against Russia. In an article in Le Figaro, French President Nicholas Sarkozy says that:

This withdrawal must be carried out without delay. This point is not negotiable in my eyes. It must involve all Russian forces that entered in[to] Georgia since August 7. If this clause of the cease-fire [is] not applied quickly and completely, I would be obliged to convene an extraordinary European Council to decide on the consequences to be drawn.

Previously, Sarkozy had been accused of taking a somewhat soft stance towards Russia. It follows Angela Merkel's statement that Georgia should be able to enter into NATO. France and Germany were two of the NATO members that were rather cool towards the idea of giving Georgia a blueprint for NATO membership.

The tone in Sarkozy's article, however, is clear:

We must also determine whether the intervention of Russia against its neighbour Georgia was a response brutal and excessive, in this unique case, or if it opens a new hardening of Moscow vis-à-vis its neighbours and the international community [as a] whole.

The use of such stong words will no doubt anger Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. Whilst talking about Europe's role in the crisis, Sarkozy says something that no other leader has dared to say, he talks of a new cold war:

That is what [Europe has] done by making every effort to reduce this new conflict whose consequences could be catastrophic if it proved to be harbinger of a new cold war.

If Russian troops do not begin withdrawing today, there could be a lot of diplomatic trouble.

The Full Article is here.

Images: Nicholas Sarkozy by א (Aleph),; Dmitry Mevedev by Zscout370, http//; Georgia map from BBC News

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