French President Nicolas Sarkozy will fly to Moscow later today to discuss the ongoing offensive in Georgia and South Ossetia with his Russian counterparts.
Sarkozy’s trip, on behalf of the EU of which he is currently president, is the manifestation of intensifying international efforts to resolve the crisis.
It comes hot on the heels of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner’s EU-backed mission to Russia and Georgia over the weekend.
His plan for an immediate ceasefire met with enthusiasm in Tbilisi, but admitted that was the easy part: “We are going to Moscow to see if on the other side they will be able to agree on this document. We have some hope but of course it is always the same thing. Peace missions take time.”
Kouchner also travelled to North Ossetia where he met refugees who had fled from the fighting in neighbouring South Ossetia. The images were shown on Russian television.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN has rejected a Western-backed draft Security Council resolution calling for an immediate truce and mutual withdrawal of Russian and Georgian troops.
The text also calls for respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity and a return to the status quo that existed before the conflict erupted last week.