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French-led peace mission voices optimism

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French-led peace mission voices optimism

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In the Georgian capital, there are words of confidence from a French-led peace mission. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, says the Georgian President has largely accepted a plan aimed at ceasing hostilities. Paris is calling for an immediate ceasefire and all military forces to return to positions held before the outbreak of fighting on Friday.

Kouchner told reporters there was still a lot to be done: “Today visiting fields, coming back to see Mr. Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, this night Moscow, tomorrow discussions in Moscow, then coming back to Brussels. That’s the state of our mission, and honestly we did our best”.

Under the peace plan, some kind of international presence would also be required, and Georgian territorial sovereignty would be respected. Kouchner says he found President Saakashvili “determined to make peace”. As well as the mission to Tbilisi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is due in Moscow tomorrow to try to boost efforts for a ceasefire.