Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 18:46 UK

Miliband demands Russian retreat

David Miliband
Mr Miliband has welcomed the signing of a Georgian ceasefire agreement

The foreign secretary has condemned the "aggression" of Russia and demanded its "immediate withdrawal" from Georgia.

David Miliband said Moscow's threats to launch a nuclear strike against Poland if it allowed US missile defences on its soil were totally unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Tory leader David Cameron has called for unity with Georgia.

The conflict began when Georgia attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia, sparking Russian action. Its troops still hold parts of Georgia.

'Priority commitments'

In London hundreds of UK-based Georgians marched outside Parliament to protest against what they said has been inadequate intervention by Britain and the US on their country's behalf.

In a statement, Mr Miliband welcomed the signing of the Georgian ceasefire agreement by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"The priority now is to ensure that the commitments made in the agreement are speedily and fully implemented," he said.

"There must be a complete and immediate withdrawal of Russian troops to the line they occupied before military action started."

David Cameron wants the West to contribute to rebuilding Georgia

Mr Cameron called for Western powers to stand firm with Georgia as he visited the country's capital, Tbilisi, after travelling to the region for talks with political leaders.

Speaking from Tbilisi, he said: "What Russia destroys, the EU and Nato will help... restore.

"Just a few miles away there are still Russian troops on the ground, still doing damage."

He said a "clear message" needed to go out from all Western politicians - in government or opposition - that they would rally round Georgia and help rebuild it.

Mr Cameron also said it was vital checks were kept on all the armed groups in the area.

'Atrocities'

"What I've heard is there's a real danger that the militias that are in the areas that the Russians occupy may well be carrying out appalling atrocities.

"If atrocities have taken place, they will be held to account for that."

Mr Cameron earlier called for Nato to speed up Georgia's application for membership, in a bid to deter further attacks.

He has also called for Russia to be expelled from the G8 and for tough new visa restrictions to be placed on Russian nationals travelling to the UK.

The Liberal Democrats have urged the EU and others to "show tough resolve in helping to negotiate a lasting peace".

Scores of people have died and thousands displaced since the fighting began a week ago.


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Cameron wants Georgia solidarity
16 Aug 08 |  UK Politics


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