Russia Agrees Georgia Withdrawal Deadline

Russian president agrees  to withdraw from main Georgian territory within a month. Nicolas Sarkozy traveled with EU leaders for meeting with Russian president. Russian troops remain deep inside Georgian territory, month after cease-fire. Moscow says its troops are peacekeepers who are allowed under deal to stay.

President Vladimir Putin, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seen at a meeting in parliament's upper house, in Moscow, in this March 16, 2006 file photo. President Putin on Monday Dec. 10, 2007, expressed support for Medvedev to run for president. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS)

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Moscow has agreed to withdraw its forces from Georgia outside of its two breakaway provinces within one month, the presidents of Russia and France said Monday following the latest efforts to end the region's territorial crisis.

Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and France's Nicolas Sarkozy announced that 200 European Union monitors will be deployed to one of the provinces, South Ossetia, where Russian-Georgian tensions erupted into heavy fighting last month.

Medvedev said an international summit on the situation in Georgia would be held in Geneva beginning October 15.

The agreement was in line with terms of an August 12 truce negotiated by Sarkozy, whose country holds the European Union presidency, to end five days of fighting that followed a Georgian crackdown on South Ossetian separatists.

Under the agreement, there will be a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from their positions deep within Georgia, excepting the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, within one month, the two leaders said.

Troops will start pulling out from the area around the Black Sea port of Poti in the next seven days, they said.

Both men added that the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be discussed in Geneva next month.

After the announcements were made in Moscow, the Georgian government charged that two jets illegally entered Georgian airspace from the Russian Federation and circled over Tskhinvali and Shatili for a period of about 45 minutes. The Georgia government said it presumed the planes were on a reconnaissance mission.

In addition, the Georgians accused the Russian occupation force of reinforcing, rather than vacating, its checkpoints near Poti.

Sarkozy has previously been criticized for giving Russia too much leeway in interpreting the terms of the cease-fire deal.

With the 27-nation bloc now so dependent on energy from Russia, CNN's Matthew Chance said the EU could exert little pressure on Moscow. The EU buys 30 percent of its imported oil and 40 percent of its imported natural gas from Russia.

But at an emergency summit in Brussels last week Sarkozy said Russia had to decide whether it wanted isolation or co-operation with its EU neighbors. He added that while the EU wanted peaceful co-operation "it takes two to tango."

Russia has accused the U.S. of propping up Georgia in order to have an ally in the region. Washington last month promised $1 billion in relief to Georgia.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney harshly criticized Russia's military incursion into Georgia on Saturday, calling the action "an affront to civilized standards."

Cheney faulted Russia for invading the country, killing civilians and displacing thousands of Georgians, and failing to abide by a cease-fire agreement from the European Union.

On Sunday Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili said he believed the West would help his country regain control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"Our territorial integrity will be restored. I am more convinced of this than ever," Saakashvili said on Georgian television, AP reported. "This will not be an easy process, but now this is a process between an irate Russia and the rest of the world."

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.


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