French President Nicolas Sarkozy, fresh from meetings in Moscow where he secured an agreement to withdraw remaining Russian forces from Georgia, arrived in Tbilisi Monday to reassure Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and offer words of solidarity.
Just hours before, Sarkozy had threatened to walk out of stormy talks with Russian officials before securing a deal with President Dmitry Medvedev on withdrawing troops from Georgia, a French official said. Sarkozy condemned Russia's unilateral recognition of Abkazia and South Ossetia. SOUNDBITES: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, saying, (French): "The Russian military must pull back to the line prior to the beginning of hostilities. And the second step, and of course, this will mean continued talks, the total retreat of forces in all zones and, as it was signed, their replacement by European observers, is something that remains our priority, our goal and we are, of course, in agreement on this subject." French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying, (French): "The European Union will be at Georgia's side all along the path of its reconstruction to guarantee its sovereignty, its independence and its territorial integrity."