UN Security Council mulls Georgia’s ceasefire proposals

August 12th, 2008 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 12 (DPA) The UN Security Council was studying Tuesday a draft resolution calling for an immediate and unconditional end of hostilities in Georgia and the complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces to their positions held prior to Aug 7. The draft written by France, which holds the current presidency of the European Union, was distributed late Monday to the council’s 15 members as Russian forces expanded their holds in Georgian territory.

The fighting between Russia and Georgia erupted last week after Moscow alleged that Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia, an breakaway Georgian enclave inhabited by Russian citizens. Since Aug 7, the fighting has widened to Abkhazia, another separatist Georgian province.

The draft faces a certain Russian veto in the council if it were to be put to a vote.

It calls on UN members to reaffirm their commitment to respect Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.

It stresses “the urgent need for all parties to refrain from further use of force,” and calls on “all parties to engage immediately in negotiations aimed at finding a peaceful and durable solution”.

It expresses strong support for mediation by member states, the EU and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE).

The draft says the UN Security Council intends “to take further action, as appropriate, to help bring about and implement a peaceful and durable solution to the crisis”.

It urges all parties to the conflict in Abkhazia to fully implement the May 14, 1994, Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces, and to cooperate fully with the UN military observer mission in Georgia. The parties are also called to allow humanitarian assistance to reach those in need.

The UN mission in the Upper Kodori Valley was told by Abkhaz authorities last weekend to pull out of the site as they were mobilizing militarily. The 15-member UN unit complied and moved to Sukumi.

The council had been holding daily meetings since the fighting in South Ossetia broke out, but had not been able to take any decisions to halt the spread of the war.

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