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At UN, Georgia Ceasefire Stalemate, Russia Speaks of Genocide and Kosovo

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

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 -- With the Georgian stakes raised to winner-take-all, the Security Council on Saturday was again unable to agree even on how to ask for a ceasefire. After the emergency meeting broke up, Inner City Press asked U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff about an analogy being made between South Ossetia and Kosovo, with Georgia playing the role of Serbia and Russia, ironically, playing the role of NATO, complete with aerial strikes. "If that's the analogy, then I think what we've been hearing in the Council has been misleading to us," Ambassador Wolff replied, "because that not what has been cited as the reasons Russia has been making these moves."

  Russia's moves have included bombing such places at the port of Poti, and the town of Gori. There, apartment buildings next to a Georgian tank base were hit. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin spoke of air strikes on locations that are providing support to Georgia's assault on South Ossetia.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Churkin to response to Georgia's president statement on CNN that Russia had chosen the Olympics as the time to assault and even invade Georgia. Amb. Churkin replied that Georgia has tried to retake South Ossetia "during the Olympics... a gross violation of various international agreements and calls by the General Assembly and Secretary General" of a truce during the Beijing summer Olympic Games.  Some wondered how the fighting, now spread to the Upper Kodori gorge and Abkhazia, might impact Russia's selection as the host of winter Olympics in Sochi.

Amb. Churkin at the UN, analogies to Kosovo and Rwanda not shown

  Amb. Churkin called what is happening in South Ossetia a genocide: there are some 100,000 South Ossetians, 2000 killed and 30,000 displaced, he said, "is that enough for you?"  Inner City Press asked French Deputy Permanent Representative Jean-Pierre Lacroix to respond off camera to Churkin's invocation of genocide. "I thin kit's a very seris situation... that's reason enough for us to work to try to put an end to this crisis." In the closed door meeting Saturday afternoon, sources tell Inner City Press that Russia's Churkin brought up not only Kosovo, but also Rwanda...

   It is unclear if the Security Council will meet again on Sunday. There seems little chance they could pass any form of statement; some Western diplomats are saying to wait until Monday, for an OSCE report. But events on the ground -- and from the skies -- are moving fast, and a request for a Sunday meeting has been made.

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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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