French President Nicolas Sarkozy is carrying the proposal to Moscow:
A Georgian National Security Council official said the document signed by Saakashvili called for an unconditional cease-fire by both sides, a non-use of force agreement, a withdrawal of all Russian troops from Georgian territory, including the South Ossetia region, and provisions for international peacekeeping and mediation.
Sources close to the delegation said the French and Finnish ministers, along with their Georgian counterpart, would visit Gori Monday afternoon to see first-hand damage caused by Russian airstrikes.
Saakashvili has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal where he claims that the war has transcended the conflict in Ossetia:
Ostensibly, this war is about an unresolved separatist conflict. Yet in reality, it is a war about the independence and the future of Georgia. And above all, it is a war over the kind of Europe our children will live in. Let us be frank: This conflict is about the future of freedom in Europe.
No country of the former Soviet Union has made more progress toward consolidating democracy, eradicating corruption and building an independent foreign policy than Georgia. This is precisely what Russia seeks to crush.
This conflict is therefore about our common trans-Atlantic values of liberty and democracy. It is about the right of small nations to live freely and determine their own future. It is about the great power struggles for influence of the 20th century, versus the path of integration and unity defined by the European Union of the 21st. Georgia has made its choice.
Sarkozy’s visit would present the logical point for Russia to end this conflict. However, they have to fear the post-conflict steps that will be taken by the West to prevent additional Russian attacks and influence in the region. That’s why a cease-fire may be possible but a Russian withdraw might be significantly more difficult to negotiate. The future of Putin’s expansionist doctrine is at stake.
I hope this naked aggression backfires on Russia like their catastrophic invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. They poured blood and treasure into that project for years, and earned the world’s opprobrium even as they hastened their empire’s downfall through their folly. We helped that defeat happen, of course, and I want to see us help out again.
Beyond this, the United States and its allies and other countries need to send a strong signal to Moscow that redrawing the borders of the former Soviet Union is a danger to world peace; cannot be done without violation of international law; and is likely to result in death and destruction – a price that neither the Russian people nor others should pay.