Buffer zone sticking point in Caucasus talks

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will demand Moscow complies with a month-old peace plan for Georgia or risk demaging relations with the EU when he meets his Russian counterpart for talks today.

Russia has yet to honour half the six point plan including pulling back troops to positions they held before the brief conflict with Georgia in August.

At the opening of a new tube station in Moscow, the Russian President emphasised there were many Georgian engineers and builders working on the project and he did not rule out compromise.

“History will judge the crimes committed by the current Georgian leadership,” he said. “But our attitude toward the people of Georgia will always remain warm and brotherly.”

After his talks in the Russian capital Sarkozy will head to Georgia to brief President Mikheil Saakashvili.

In a sign of increased Russian flexibilty ahead of the visit, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said its team of around 20 observers were able to move around the country freely.

Meanwhile the Georgian leader has been touring bomb shattered areas where the rebuilding process is slowly getting underway.

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