According to reports from the EU observer mission, this morning (5 Oct.) Russian troops dismantled the first checkpoint in Ali, northwest of Gori, in the occupied buffer zone around South Ossetia. In accordance with the agreement of 8 September, the Russian side undertook to withdraw its troops from the buffer zones around South Ossetia and Abkhazia at the latest 10 days after the arrival of the EU observers. The EU observer mission began its work in Georgia on 1 October 2008.
Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on this development today (5 Oct.) in Berlin:
"I welcome the fact that Russian troops dismantled the first checkpoint near Gori this morning. This is a positive first step, which must now be followed by others. It is important for the stabilization in the Caucasus and the upcoming talks in Geneva that the Russian withdrawal from the buffer zones around South Ossetia and Abkhazia be completed quickly and according to schedule."