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BREAKING: 2:45pm 8-15-08 Cease Fire Agreement Signed by Georgia for Russian Withdrawal
Friday, Aug 15, 2008 11:41pm
TBILISI, Georgia From CNN (By: tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING WORLD NEWS: 2:45pm 8-15-08  With the entire world watching, a grim Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Friday he signed a cease-fire agreement that requires the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Georgian soil. 

According to CNN, the agreement includes a provision for independent monitors and an eventual reconstruction plan for Georgia's economy, said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who brought the documents to Tbilisi, Georgia's capital.

The two met for almost five hours, the Georgian president said. 

Saakashvili opened the news conference with a bitter tirade against what he characterized as European nations' appeasement in advance of a Russian invasion last week. 

In Washington, President Bush on Friday chided Russia for Cold War-style behavior, saying, "Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century."

NATO's decision in April not to admit Georgia as a member encouraged Russia to build up forces and attack Georgia with impunity, he said.

"Who invited the trouble here?" he said. "Who invited this arrogance here? Who invited the innocent deaths here? Not only those people who perpetrated this are responsible, but also those people who failed to stop it."

He called the Russians "21st-century barbarians." Rice emphasized that all Russian troops must return to the positions they held before the conflict began.

Georgia last week launched a military incursion into South Ossetia to rout separatist rebels. Russia -- which supports the separatists -- responded the next day, sending tanks across the border into South Ossetia. The conflict quickly spread to other parts of Georgia and to Abkhazia, another breakaway region.

"We support Georgia's sovereignty, we support its independence, we support its territorial integrity, we support its democracy and its democratically elected government," Rice said.

She said an independent monitoring force must be put in place as soon as possible, and talks were under way to assemble one.

"Never, ever will Georgia reconcile with the occupation of even one square kilometer of its sovereign territory," Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili had hesitated Thursday evening when asked if he were ready to sign the cease-fire papers Rice was carrying.

"We'll have to see what she has to bring," Saakashvili said on CNN's "Larry King Live." "We are still in the negotiating process."


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