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UNSC remains deadlocked over Georgia

Dharam Shourie in United Nations | August 22, 2008 10:58 IST

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The United Nations Security Council remained deadlocked over Georgia despite several meetings since the conflict began with Russia [Images] and western nations opposing each other's draft resolutions and each accusing the other of paralyzing the 15-member body on this important issue.

Diplomats said that France [Images], whose original draft is being opposed by Moscow [Images], is working on fresh resolution that would try to harmonize the two opposing drafts even as most members stressed the need to have resolution, which could be adopted unanimously.

A two-hour closed door meeting on Thursday afternoon failed to move the members nearer a consensus and if anything, the positions were hardening.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow plans to put its resolution in the blue -- official jargon, which means formally moving the draft on which it could ask for vote anytime. But western diplomats were not convinced that Russia would seek vote immediately as they calculated that it does not have requisite nine votes for the resolution to be adopted even if none of the other four permanent member vetoes it.

The veto wielding permanent members include the United States, Britain, China, Russia and France.

Churkin says that the Russian draft should be acceptable to all as it just calls for implementation of the six-point plan agreed to between France and Moscow. But the Western diplomats argue the Council needs to go beyond that and just cannot act as a rubber stamp.

At issue is the territorial integrity of Georgia which the western powers want to emphasize but Russia would like to keep it out of any resolution. Churkin has made the Russian position clear, pointing out that the plan Moscow had agreed to does not mention it.

The western powers are afraid that if the resolution does specifically refer to territory integrity and only endorses the six points, it could be interpreted to mean that breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia could secede from the Georgia.

The leaders of the two regions are already demanding independence and Georgia had little control over them even before the conflict began on Aug 7-8 when Georgia sent forces to take control of South Ossetia leading to a massive response by the Russian military.

American diplomats accuse Russia of not adhering to its promise of withdrawing from the Georgian territory speedily and of trying to strengthen its position on the breakaway regions. Besides, they say the Russian draft does not take into account the clarifications.

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