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RUSSIA - GEORGIA - EU

Sarkozy tells Russia to pull back amid new Cold War fears

2 min

During a conference Wednesday with French ambassadors, France's president Nicolas Sarkozy called on Russian forces to retreat to their pre-conflict positions, saying that no one wanted to "go back to the time of the Cold War".

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday no-one wanted another Cold War and called on Russia to pull back its forces to positions they held before the current conflict with Georgia.

"The military forces which have not yet pulled back to the lines they held before the hostilities must move without delay," he told a meeting in Paris of France's ambassadors.   

Sarkozy said he would discuss the Georgia crisis later Wednesday by phone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"Nobody wants to go back to the time of the Cold War. NATO is not an adversary but a partner of Russia," he said.

"As for the European Union, it seeks to build with this country (Russia) a close and positive relation," said Sarkozy, whose country now holds the EU's rotating presidency.

He repeated that the EU condemned Moscow's recognition of the independence of the breakaway Georgian territories South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"This decision, which aims to unilaterally change the borders of Georgia, is quite simply unacceptable," he said.  

Russian forces entered Georgia on August 8 to thwart a Georgian attempt to regain control of South Ossetia that had been lost to Moscow-backed separatists.

France brokered a ceasefire but the United States and other Western nations have accused Russia of breaching the accord by keeping tanks and troops in Georgia.

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