Accuses Russia of "Blackmailing" UN on Abkhazia, Ban's 2nd Term
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, May 27, updated May 28,
draft here -- Russia "blackmailed" the UN Secretariat
of Ban Ki-moon into changing Mr. Ban's report on Abkhazia, Georgia's
Ambassador to the UN Alexander Lomaia told the Press on Wednesday.
Inner City Press asked if he meant that Russia threatened to veto the
resolution to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission there, or
as many have speculated threated to veto a second term as Secretary
Ambassador Lomaia said he has heard that, but that the
threat he knows of "first had" is to veto the resolution to
extent the mission's mandate, set to expire on June 15. Video here,
from Minute 25:39.
the conflict of last August in which, after Georgia sought to retake
to frozen conflict zones, Russian recognized as independent both
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia has urged changes to the name of
the "UN Observer Mission in Georgia," UNOMIG. To Russia,
these areas are not longer Georgia. Therefore, according to Lomaia,
Russia walked out of the talks on the areas in Geneva, until the UN
re-titled its report.
mentioned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit with Ban
Ki-moon on May 11 as part of the "pressure of Russia on the
Secretariat." Video here,
from Minute 13:19. After Ban Ki-moon
wouldn't call Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia illegal, rumors
circulated that Russia was threatening to veto Ban's future bid for a
second term. Since then, Ban's position on Kosovo was become more pro
Serbian and Russia, and now the report on Abkhazia [Georgia] is
renamed. Lomaia called it blackmail. Only two journalists asked
Georgia's Lomaia, who says UN's Ban's Secretariat was "blackmailed" by
City Press asked about the unrest in Georgia, and also whether the
country recognizes Kosovo's declaration of independences. Lomaia,
whose predecessor Irakli Alasania is now a major opposition figure,
said that Georgia respects the rights to free speech. On Kosovo, he
said as he had to that Georgia does not recognize Kosovo's
independence. When Inner City Press pointed out that on this,
non-recognition of Kosovo, Georgia has the same position as Russia.
Lomaia scoffed. He said that unlike Georgia's, Russia's commitment to
sovereignty and territorial integrity is selected.
analysis: Given Russia's support of the Abkhazians' and South
Ossetians' breakaway from Georgia, Russia's decided opposition to
independence aspirations by Tamils in the northern part of Sri Lanka
is striking. Russia focuses on the LTTE as terrorists, and anaogizes
to Chechnya or the terrorist taking of the school in Beslan. Georgia
claims that Abkhaz and South Ossetians engaged in ethnic cleansing,
but does not use the word terrorism. Selectivity is everywhere. Watch
footnote: after a by-invitation only briefing at the US Mission
the UN Wednesday afternoon, unrelated
were published quoting unnamed... "U.N." diplomats that an agreement
in principles on
sanctions against North Korea had been reached. On May 28, France's Ambassador briefed
selected journalists in the UN Delegates' Lounge, reportedly leading to
a protest by uninvited television journalists perceived to be more
interested in the Middle East. By contrast,
Georgia's Ambassador Lomaia made his charges on the record on UN TV and
took questions from any journalist who chose to come.
Russia is somewhere in the middle: Ambassador Churkin spoke only
briefly in English on UN TV -- Inner City Press asked for Russia's
view on Ban's security zone proposal, Churkin said, Too early, video
here from Minute 1:11
-- but then long longer to Russian media. It was translated for Inner
City Press as including that Russia will seek an embargo against
offensive weapons to Georgia. Lomaia bristled that Georgia has a
right to reach what agreements it wants. And to say whatever it
wants, apparently. We will continue to cover this.
Update of May 28 -- the following
was put out by the UN:
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Georgia
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
5/28/2009 1:33:57 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
claim by the Georgian Permanent Representative that the
Secretary-General amended his report on Georgia in response to
“Russian blackmail” is categorically rejected. The statement
itself is very unfortunate.
principal concern of the Secretary-General in the drafting of his
Report has been that all concerned parties should engage on the
substantive issues in question, more specifically on a mechanism to
guarantee safety and security in this troubled region. The adoption
of the title was meant to avoid unnecessary politicization of the
debate among members of the Security Council and reflected his view
of what all members could live with.
Secretary-General rejects any suggestion that any threats were made
to him in this connection.
the phrase "any" threats...
Update of May 28, 6:20 p.m. -- Russian
Ambassador Churkin came
out of the Council's North Korea consultations to speak, not about the draft
DPRK resolution which Inner City Press obtained and exclusively
published Thursday morning, but rather about Georgia, and mostly in
City Press asked if he denies Georgia's claim that Russia blackmailed
Ban Ki-moon into changing the title of the Secretariat's report on
Abkazia / Georgia. Yes, he denies it. Amb. Churkin asked, You don't
speak Russian yet? Watch this site.
Click here for Inner
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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