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At UN, Georgia Denies Ukrainian Backing, Longs for NATO and Dismisses Hanging Threats

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

UNITED NATIONS, November 18 -- Asked about reports that Russia's Vladimir Putin said in August that he wanted to hang Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili by his testicles, Georgia's Ambassador to the UN Irakli Alasania told Inner City Press that Putin's quote "speaks for itself." Video here, from Minute 12:12.

    Yes, it just might. But ten days after OSCE monitors were quoted that Georgia started the August war in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Alasania would only say that it should be investigated. After the press conference, he told reporters that this was no change at all to his previous denials that Georgia started it.

  Two stories above the UN briefing room in the Delegates' Dining Room, two senior Georgian representatives the next day told a more nuanced story. Of the threat of hanging, they encouraged Inner City Press to "ask the question of the French at the stakeout," saying "there might be more to it than has been reported." They said that at least the first stage of the second round of meetings in Geneva had gone well. "You have to start somewhere," they said.

  Alasania in a second round of questions from Inner City Press was asked about reported involvement by Ukrainian troops in Georgia's August actions. Alasania called it groundless, saying it was similar to those who said the "war was waged to help one candidate here" in the United States. "We have good neighborly relations with the Ukraine," Alasania said, going one article (the) too far. Video here, from Minute 21:01.

Georgia's Alasania, putting the "the" in Ukraine, projecting 2d ACABQ run

    In response to Inner City Press' question about the U.S. backing away from supporting immediate NATO membership, Alasania said it might take time. Not as long as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, noted one wag, that FYROM has sued Greece for blocking them in NATO.

  Inner City Press has asked Ambassador Alasania about attacks on media freedom in Georgia. He said the country was trying to do better, that the question should be put to "NGOs on the ground, I have not been on the ground for two years now."  Video here, from Minute 29:28.

 Finally, Inner City Press asked Alasania if Georgia will trying again to unseat Russia from the Eastern European States seat on the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.  Alasania said, "Probably, sure, why not."

Footnote: at the same Delegates' Lounge reception at which the two Georgian representatives told Inner City Press about the Geneva meeting, several Ambassadors spoke about ACABQ and the UN's fifth (budget) committee, predicting that in January when Sudan takes the helm of the Group of 77 and China, these will become forums for daily questioning of Ban Ki-moon. Oversight can't hurt.

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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