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Russia, U.S. Disagree Over Georgia Withdrawal

Russia's defense minister said Friday that his nation's forces had completed a withdrawal from Georgia, but the U.S. said Moscow had not complied with a French-brokered truce.

In Moscow, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said the pullback into separatist South Ossetia was finished as Russian military convoys rolled out of three key positions in Georgia and headed toward Moscow-backed separatist regions.

But White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said President Bush spoke by phone on Friday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who mediated a six-point peace plan between Georgia and Russia.


"The two agreed that Russia is not in compliance and Russia needs to come into compliance now," Johndroe said.

Under the deal, Russian peacekeepers are allowed to stay in the breakaway region of South Ossetia, but Moscow is supposed to pull back all additional troops and military hardware it sent into Georgia, Johndroe said.

There were still questions about the extent of the Russian pullout on Friday.

Outside Poti, Russian troops were seen digging large trenches Friday morning near a bridge that provides the only access to the city. Five trucks, several armored personnel carriers and a helicopter were parked nearby. Another Russian position was seen in a wooded area outside the city.

From wire reports.


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