UN, Georgia Mocks Puppet States and Sochi Olympics, French Mistrals to
Russia Without Hi-Tech?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 19 -- Abkhazia and South Ossetia are "puppet"
states, Georgia's Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze told the Press on
Monday at the UN in New York. Inner City Press asked Vashadze to
comment on Nicaragua's recognition last week of their unilateral
declaration of independence. The UDI was illegal, Vashadze replied,
the number of states offering recognition doesn't mean anything.
asked, how does it compare to Kosovo? I'm not going to comment,
Vashadze said, adding that Georgia has not recognized Kosovo's UDI.
But the U.S. and nearly whole EU, of course, have.
that Georgia has been in any way snubbed by the Obama
administration's rapprochement with Russia. As he spoke, U.S.
Ambassador Susan Rice and Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin were
offering mutual praises at a disarmament meeting on the other side of
the UN campus.
moving to sell Mistrals to Russia, Inner City Press asked. Previously,
French Ambassador Gerard Araud rebuffed Inner City Press' question on
this, calling it "no a UN question." But at the UN Monday, Vashadze
said Georgia has raised its concerns, and that perhaps the Mistrals
will be sold without sensitive technology.
had said he had time, the Icelandic volcano did not allow him to
leave New York, Inner City Press asked for his views of the 2014
Sochi Olympics, might they soften relations between Georgia and
Russia. To Vashadze, apparently, the only thing softening is the
little bit of snow in the Sochi region.
it "Bolshevik" to try to hold a Winter Olympics in the
"tropics." He spoke of Russia carting sand and gravel out
of Abkhazia, which will leave it "half under water." Why
not try to hold the Winter Olympics in the Sahara, he asked
rhetorically. No, there is no thaw.
Churkin back in March told Inner City Pres that Abkhazia remains
"technically" on the UN Security Council's agenda, Vashadze on Monday
said "there are no Georgia questions on the Security Council agenda,"
that the country can only proceed in the General Assembly.
US' Hillary Clinton and Georgia's Vashadze,
Russia, Sochi and NATO not shown
a legal win in the International Court of Justice in September, but
said that the International Criminal Court process is probably "over"
since the ICC has no access to the two "territories" or to Russia. He
responded to Inner City Press' questions about NATO with a long and
seemingly too optimistic answer, video
Inner City Press asked about the upcoming May 30 elections, regarding
which the country's former Prime Minister has said fraud could be
expected. Vashadze said he hadn't heard that complaint -- it's here,
via Bloomberg -- certainly not from former UN Ambassador and
candidate Irakli Alasania. But he is quoted in Bloomberg. There will
be election observers. We'll see.
* * *
UN, Russia Slams MOU with NATO, Georgia "Technically"
on Council Agenda
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 2 -- Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, in
an increasingly rare on the record session with the Press, trashed
the UN's "semi-transparent" memorandum of understanding
with NATO while praising the "CIS Symphonic Orchestra" and
a road safety resolution sponsored by the Russian Federation.
the MOU "semi-transparent," Inner City Press asked
Ambassador Churkin if he had seen the whole agreement and if so, why
not release it? Churkin laughed. "You underestimate our
persistence here," he said, adding that Russia saw the MOU the
day it was signed. Video here,
from Minute 23:09.
said, was the NATO's Secretary General has been misrepresenting this
"modest document... out of proportion," most recently at
the Munich Conference. Churkin said Russia had been "unpleasantly
surprised at the way it was done." It was done under UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
asked Churkin about Mr. Ban's naming
of Finland's Antti Turunen as
his Representative for Georgia, replacing Johan Verbeke of Belgium
does this mean that Georgia is still on the Security Council agenda?
"Technically it is," Churkin replied.
He said that
will represent the UN at the Geneva talks, and that his appointment
has the subject of a letter of information from Mr. Ban to the
President of the Security Council which didn't require a reply.
Finland's Stubb and Russia's Churkin, Turunen to
Georgia not shown
earlier on Tuesday Inner City Press asked WHO's Etienne Krug, does
the drive for better roads simply lead to more driving and pollution?
Inner City Press asked -- video here,
from Minute 8:39 -- but Krug
said that the UN is also in favor of more and safer public
Press also asked about the UN's own drive
practices. Krug said that road accidents are the leading cause of
death of UN staff worldwide, and that the UN should improve its
practices. But will it?