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Merkel and Medvedev split over European peacekeepers

Friday,August 15, 2008

The leaders of Russia and Germany have clashed over the role of European peacekeepers in South Ossetia. Speaking after their meeting in Sochi, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said their presence was vital to maintain stability in the conflict zone. But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,
while not objecting to the principle, argued that the South Ossetians would not allow it.

Medvedev said: “Peace in the region should be re-established and guaranteed so that no idiotic ideas ever come to anyone’s head – that is the main task for the Russian Federation at the present moment.”

He added that the South Ossetian and Abkhazian sides had stated they would only trust Russian forces to secure peace in the region.


Merkel told the media she did not want to apportion blame, but explained she was not happy with Moscow’s actions.

“The reaction of Russia was disproportionate,” she said. “The presence of military forces on the Georgian territory was wrong. I believe we have to realise the plan of the six principles as soon as possible so that Russian troops can leave the territory of Georgia.”

Though Merkel reiterated the stance that Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected, Medvedev reminded her that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not planning to rejoin Georgia.