Russia informs UN chief of decision to recognise Georgian regions

August 27th, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Aug 27 (Xinhua) Russia has informed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of its decision to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway regions of Georgia.Speaking at a press conference here Tuesday, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he had passed on to the UN chief a letter from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev “announcing the decision … to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia”.

Churkin read out a statement that had been issued in Moscow by the foreign affairs ministry, which provided a detailed explanation on Russia’s position.

“By the aggressive attack against South Ossetia on the night of Aug 8, 2008, which resulted in numerous human losses, including among the peacekeepers and other Russian citizens, and by the preparation of a similar action against Abkhazia, (Georgian President) Mikhail Saakashvili has himself dashed the possibility of the territorial integrity of Georgia,” the statement said.

Georgia’s use of force against South Ossetia had clearly dashed all Security Council resolutions and created a completely new reality, Churkin said in response to a question.

Later in the afternoon, Georgia’s UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania also held a press conference, during which he said Georgia would use all possible diplomatic, political and economic tools to present to the rest of the world the “real fact of the Russian policies.”

“The unilateral recognition of Georgian provinces is a breach of fundamental norms and principles of international law on territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of the borders of the states,” he said.

“The Russian action directly contradicts all UN Security Council resolutions,” Alasania said, noting, “Georgia will exercise all possible diplomatic means to preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

He said that “along with a full respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders”, Georgia is willing to “accommodate any legitimate security concerns” of South Ossetia and Abkhazia “through direct dialogue and the non-biased international negotiations”.

Russia’s step had no international legal consequence and no impact on Georgia’s internationally established borders, he said, adding that it would not change the international community’s stand on Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity or independence.

Meanwhile, UN diplomats said Russia’s move has further complicated the Security Council’s efforts to reach a common ground on a resolution regarding the Georgia crisis.

French Deputy Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said that in the past few days, the council had been working “very intensively” on a peaceful settlement based on the six-point plan agreed by both French and Russian presidents and “a good deal of progress” had been achieved.

One of the main stumbling blocks was the issue of territorial integrity of Georgia, Lacroix said.

“We are ready to address this issue and explore ways in a way that would potentially have secured consensus of the Security Council,” he said.

“However, today’s decision by Russia makes it much more complicated to continue this discussion.”

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