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At UN, Georgian Theater Continues, Without Abkhaz and Ossetians for Now

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

UNITED NATIONS, August 28 -- In the wake of Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the UN Security Council resumed its Georgian theater on Thursday. Members convened at 11 a.m. to discuss the format for yet another meeting. A bone of contention was Russia's request that representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia be allowed to participate. Last week, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff told Inner City Press that this participation would be inappropriate at this time; he referred to statements by South Ossetia's leadership which he said were in essence calls for ethnic cleansing.

   Thursday just outside the Security Council chamber, Amb. Wolff said that the U.S. has not denied any visa requests, that he understands that visas have been applied for in Moscow.  So there are no violations of the U.S.'s responsibilities as host country of the UN? We comply with our responsibilities as host, Wolff said.  Echoing last week's interchange, Inner City Press asked, "Scrupulously?" Wolff laughed and nodded.  But the point for now is moot: as Western diplomats emphasized after Thursday morning's meeting, there was no majority for South Ossetian and Abkhaz participation.  They emphasized, apparently with glee, that the Chinese delegation had not said anything in the consultations.

Russia's Churkin at UN, Abkhaz and South Ossetians not shown

  As to what text the Council is considering, a Western diplomat said it is a hybrid based on the Russian proposal which was finalized and "put into blue" last week. The Russians included only the six points of the so-called Sarkozy Agreement. To this, the Westerners propose adding  references to Sarkozy's after-arising clarifications, to the international mechanism which would end Russia's temporary security measures, and most importantly -- and sure to draw a veto -- to the territorial integrity of Georgia. Now that Russia has recognized the declarations of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, it is hard to see how they could accept that phrase in a resolution. Unless they are allowed to interpret it as referring to the integrity of what is left of Georgia, minus South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Council will re-convene at 3.

Watch this site. And this (on South Ossetia), this, on Russia-Georgia, and this --


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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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