Georgia offers S Ossetia pull-out

Looks like Georgia may be getting cold feet, as the prospect of more conflict looms. But it appears that this might not be the end of things:

Mr Saakashvili called his offer “the last chance for peace” in South Ossetia. A ceasefire deal reached last Friday has now been violated for five nights in a row, as pro-Russian South Ossetian separatists battle Georgian troops.

The report continues with a quote from Saakashvili:

“We are ready to hand over control of these positions to the tripartite peacekeeping contingent, which also includes Georgians, and leave 500 of our select fighters under our peacekeeping force quota to protect Georgian villages against attacks and possible acts of provocation,” he said.

“We are also ready to withdraw from all other positions and redeploy our forces outside the conflict zone in Gori.”

Mr Saakashvili said Georgia had sent extra troops to South Ossetia to combat smuggling, and this had “prompted vicious attacks on this contingent”.

The Georgian authorities say their troops killed eight South Ossetian fighters in the latest overnight fighting. The claim has not been confirmed.

Mr Saakashvili has said the international community should play an active role in peace talks. He called on world leaders to hold a conference on the future of South Ossetia and send Western peacekeepers to the region.

As readers may know the town of Gori is the home of a man that went by the name of Stalin. Saakashvili is playing a dangerous game here, the situation is becoming more and more fragile. Georgian troops on Ossetian land, even under the tripartite agreement could further enrage Ossetians. All of this comes on the back of reported heaving shelling in and around Tskhinvali last night.