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As UN Stalls on Georgia, Talk of Oil Pipelines and Armenia Airbases

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

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 -- With explosions all over Georgia, Russian and U.S. representatives were similarly downbeat on the chances for the Security Council to adopt the three sentence statement they've spent two days and nights negotiating. Facts have changed too quickly on the ground for the draft press statement, submitted Thursday night by Russia, to have much chance of passing. Outside the Council chamber, a well-placed diplomat clutching a Blackberry told Inner City Press that the conflict's impact on the BTC pipeline is the talk of oil-trading circles. The T in the middle is Tblisi, Georgia's capital.

   At Friday's UN noon briefing, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Michele Montas was asked what calls, if any, Ban had made about the conflict. "None," Ms. Montas said. " He hasn’t done any special effort today to try to reach people since the Security Council is right now examining the situation."  Inner City Press asked, How about Vijay Nambiar, who was at the Council's meeting Thursday night? Ms. Montas answered, "No, we haven’t done anything specific because, as I said, it is a matter right now in the hands of the Security Council and we’ll leave it to the Security Council." Transcript here. And what of UN Political chief, the American Lynn Pascoe, present at Friday's fruitless meeting?

Amb. Churkin and team in the Council, cheese on a string not shown

   As the acting chief of UN Peacekeeping, Edmund Mulet, Saturday briefed the Council behind closed doors, presumably on the spillover of the conflict from South Ossetia to Abkhazia and the Kodori Gorge, a Georgian diplomat told Inner City Press he was multitasking, trying to arrange for a car to take his family from their misbegotten vacation spot in the Georgian countryside back to the capital, Tblisi. "I don't know what the next step after that would be," he said. He was also spinning, telling Inner City Press that Russia is flying bombing raid from out of a rented airbase in Armenia. "It's very bad," he said. "Georgia has had good relations with Armenia." But what about Nagorno-Karabakh, one wag wondered?

   He said that Georgia has shot down six Russian planes. Are you holding any pilots?  Four or five, he said. They will come in handy.

   One reporter analogized the situation to the cartoon in which a cat jumps for a piece of cheese on a string, and get slapped. South Ossetia was the cheese, Georgia was the cat, and Russia is now slapping.

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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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