Russia tables own draft on Georgia at UN Security Council

August 21st, 2008 - 4:14 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Aug 21 (RIA Novosti) Russia has tabled a draft resolution at the UN Security Council on ensuring peace in Georgia, as an alternative to a Western-backed version it rejected Aug 19. The new text, put forward Wednesday, reiterates the six-point peace plan brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Moscow last week, including the stipulation that Russia may take “additional security measures” in Georgia, while omitting any reference to Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called the Russian draft a “word-for-word reiteration” of the plan agreed by Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after Russia’s large-scale military operation, which followed Georgia’s Aug 8 ground and air offensive in breakaway South Ossetia.

Veto-wielding US signalled Wednesday it did not intend to back the Russian draft.

The text was “intended to rubber-stamp a Russian interpretation that we do not agree with,” Washington’s deputy UN envoy Alejandro Wolff said.

The six points agreed by the Russian and French leaders and repeated in the draft, include non-use of force, a definitive end to hostilities, free access to humanitarian aid, and a pullback of Georgian troops to their bases.

The remaining points address two more controversial issues - the withdrawal of Russian forces to “the line prior to the beginning of hostilities”, but only after international mechanisms are set up allowing Russian peacekeepers to “take additional security measures”, and also the launch of “an international discussion of lasting security and stability arrangements for South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

Russia’s president has said the two breakaway regions should be allowed to make their own decisions on their future status.

Col Gen Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, said Russia is continuing its withdrawal from Georgia despite the tense situation in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

He accused NATO of exacerbating tensions in the area by rebuilding the Georgian army, and warned that the Russian military would take “appropriate measures” to neutralise such a threat.

Asked about Russian military loss in South Ossetia, Nogovitsyn said 64 service personnel were killed and another 323 injured.

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