Russia supports EU plan in new UN draft resolution

August 15th, 2008 - 8:21 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 15 (DPA) Russia Thursday offered a Caucasus peace plan in the UN Security Council that includes some of the six- point French ceasefire plan but would not respect Georgian territorial integrity, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. He called it the “Medvedev-Sarkozy plan” and told reporters that the draft would include the substance of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s talks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

It was not known whether the European Union or Paris, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, would accept the terms.

Churkin said that the new draft was different from the plan forwarded by Sarkozy, which demanded a ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian and Georgian troops to positions before Aug 7, when the conflict erupted in South Ossetia.

He said that leaders in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway Georgian regions, have signed onto the Russian version of the six-point plan, which ignores demands of respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity.

The Georgian government in Tbilisi has not yet signed onto the French plan, pending clarification of respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Georgian Ambassador to the UN Irakli Alasania said that the six- point plan devised by the EU - without the Russian changes - could provide the basis for negotiations, which he said should be conducted by the UN.

When the plan was presented to Moscow by Sarkozy, it appeared that Russia would reject the territorial integrity demand while acquiescing to the sovereignty issue.

Alasania said that Tbilisi demands a full and effective ceasefire by Russia, saying that Georgia is already complying with a halt to hostilities as already agreed Tuesday. He said Russia must end its occupation of Georgian territory, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia must be demilitarized with international guarantees.

“We are looking to have all of these issues discussed under the UN umbrella,” he said.

Alasania said that UN Security Council members were discussing and improving the language of the current draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Georgia.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Thursday raised the spectre of lawlessness and a humanitarian crisis in Georgia, amid reports of looting, continued fighting and lack of access to people in need.

Ban said he had become “extremely concerned by the humanitarian impact of the recent conflict on the civilian population in Georgia, which has suffered loss of life and injury, significant damage to property and infrastructure.”

“All sides should control forces under their command to ensure that the current state of lawlessness ceases,” he said.

Ban Thursday discussed the situation by telephone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and with the US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Ban said in a statement that large parts of Georgia and breakaway South Ossetia are inaccessible to international relief organizations because of the “ongoing insecurity, lawlessness and other constraints.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme have airlifted relief supplies to the more than 100,000 Georgians displaced by the fighting.

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