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On Georgia, Weakened French Draft Draws Russian Ire, Leninist Diplomacy on War Crimes

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

UNITED NATIONS, August 11 -- As conflict continued to spread in Georgia, France on Monday evening unveiled a draft UN Security Council resolution calling on "all parties" to withdraw to their positions before August 6.  The text was prepared without the involvement of Russia, the Permanent Representative to the UN of Russia Vitaly Churkin told reporters, and it does not include a Russian demand that Georgia commit to renounce the use of force to retake either of its two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 

   Inner City Press asked Georgian Ambassador Irakli Alasania what he thought of the draft. It's not as strong as we'd like, he said, but we wanted something that might pass. "Might" is the operative word. For now, it appears that Russia would veto the resolution.  "I cannot see us accepting this French draft," Ambassador Churkin said.

   Inner City Press asked Churkin if Russia wants to refer Georgia's president for prosecution in the Hague for war crimes. "We are collecting evidence," he answered. "There is a serious process to build a case." Video here, from Minute 13:35.  Later additional Russian sources made analogy to Slobodan Milosevic and said, "You [the United States] taught us."

Amb. Churkin at UN, Leninist diplomacy not shown

    After U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad said that his question to Churkin about statements that Russia demanded "regime change" in Georgia had led to a change in Russian policy, Inner City Press asked Amb. Churkin for his response. He laughed and said, "They put into our mouth something we didn't say" then used it to "scare" Georgia's president. "It is not our intent to try to overthrow" the president of Georgia, he said, adding that "we cannot see how we can do business with him." This was later tied to Russia's position that he is now a war criminal. 

  Churkin went out to say, "We shared this confidentially" with the United States, then they engage in "Leninist diplomacy... We are training on Leninist diplomacy, there are all sorts of these we can reveal." Amb. Khalilzad had left by then, but Inner City Press will pursue these questions, including of reported U.S. military involvement in South Ossetia, in coming day.

  For now, the text of the French draft resolution:

The Security Council,

         Gravely concerned at the escalation of violence in Georgia, which began on August 7 in the area of South Ossetia (Georgia), and resulted in the loss of numerous lives, injuries, and severe damage to property and infrastructure ;

         Gravely concerned at the extension of violence throughout Georgian territory, including Abkhazia (Georgia);

Gravely concerned at the introduction of additional forces into Georgian territory;

Distressed by the increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons, and their rapidly deteriorating situation; 

Determined to achieve an immediate end to this outbreak of violence, and to facilitate a peaceful and durable settlement through negotiations;

Dismayed that hostilities are occurring during the Olympic Truce, which Member States were urged to observe during the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing;

Recalling the statements of the Secretary General on this issue, including that of 9 August 2008 ;

Reaffirming its support for the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and its resolution 1808 (2008);

1.  Reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders ;

2.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities, and the complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces to their positions prior to August 7, 2008 ;

3.  Stresses the urgent need for all parties to refrain from further use of force;

4.  Calls on all parties to the conflict to engage immediately in negotiations aimed at finding a peaceful and durable solution ;

5.  Expresses its strong support for mediation efforts undertaken by Member States and relevant organizations, including those of the European Union and the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe;

6.  Expresses its intention to take further action, as appropriate, to help bring about and implement a peaceful and durable solution to the crisis;

7.  Urges all parties to the conflict in Abkhazia (Georgia) to implement fully the Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994 (S/1994/583) and to cooperate fully with the UNOMIG;

8.  Calls on all parties to the conflict to allow full and unfettered access of humanitarian assistance to victims, including refugees and internally displaced persons;

9.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Watch this site. And this (on South Ossetia), 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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