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At the UN, Georgian Missile Mystery May Have Ossetian Explanation, United for Peace Unlikely

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, August 8 -- The missile that fell unexploded into a field 40 miles from Tbilisi continues to reverberate. Wednesday in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman  Sean McCormack pronounced that "there have been previous attacks and whoever was responsible for this particular attack, these sort of provocations need to end." He was referring to a bombing near Georgia's breakaway republic Abkhazia back in March, which five months later despite a UN inquiry and report has not been conclusively solved. Click here for Inner City Press video on that.

            In New York, Georgia's Charge d'Affaires Irakli Chikovani called for, what else, another UN investigation into this new incident. On Tuesday, Inner City Press had asked Ban Ki-moon's Associate Spokesman if the UN mission in Georgia would undertake such an investigation, if a request was made. The answer was no, since the missile is neither in nor near to Abkhazia, the UN for now does not have jurisdiction.

            In fact, the new incident appears to have more to do with Georgia's other breakaway republic, South Ossetia. The story gaining traction is that "separatists" in South Ossetia engaged a Russian plane -- by error, since Russia supports the separatists -- which then dumped the missile in order to fly off faster.

A missile in Georgia (not "the" missile)

            During a press conference at the UN on Wednesday, Irakli Chikovani was asked how Georgia thinks it will get an emergency Security Council meeting, since Russia has veto power. Mr. Chikovani responded that the Security Council is in charge of peace and security, so it must hold such a meeting.

            [One half expected a rare reference to the "United for Peace" procedure used in the past to work around Russia, and move peace and security matters to the General Assembly where there are no veto powers. That procedure has fallen into disuse.]

            A smirking reporter asked, who are Georgia's allies on the Council?  We get along with everyone on the Council, Mr. Chikovani replied, not naming any particular ally.

            The U.S., which supports independence for Kosovo, has not shown enthusiasm for calls for independence of Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Russia has accused the U.S. of making it impossible for leaders from Abkhazia to enter the U.S. to address the Security Council when they discuss the UN's Georgia mission.

            The U.S. State Department's McCormack on Wednesday urged caution: "We are still doing the analysis. We have talked to the Georgians a little bit, we have also talked to Russians, both in Moscow and here," he said, referring to Washington.

            So what, in fact, will happen at the UN in New York? We'll see -- watch this site.

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund, while UNDP won't answer.

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540