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Russia, Georgia trade accusations over conflict

August 09, 2008 14:39 IST

Russia and Georgia accused each other of triggering the latest conflict in the breakaway South Ossestia province as the United Nations Security Council's emergency session on the issue failed to come out with a statement seeking ceasefire between the warring sides.

The top organ of the world body met for the second time in a day for emergency talks on the issue on Friday during which Russian and Georgian representatives traded accusations.

The meeting came as reports reaching the United Nations said hundreds of people might have been killed and thousands others are now on move seeking shelter from the fighting.

The council met early on Friday and then reconvened in the afternoon in an unsuccessful effort to find consensus for a presidential statement calling for a ceasefire. Council members planned to meet again for a third time possibly over this weekend itself.

Georgia's Permanent Representative Irakli Alasania told the council meeting that Russian forces have launched a "full-scale military invasion" of Georgian territory, with tanks and personnel entering the country and jets bombing airfields, military bases and villages.

Alasania called on Russia to withdraw its forces, to stop the bombing campaign and to negotiate a ceasefire, adding that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was willing to take part in dialogue with Moscow.

Refuting the charge, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said it was Georgia that had carried out "a treacherous
attack" on South Ossetia, in violation of a 1996 agreement ending earlier fighting between Georgia and South Ossetia and in spite of Russian calls for negotiations and a ceasefire.

Georgian forces, he said, were bombarding towns, including those outside the immediate conflict zones, and had created panic among the civilian population, many of whom were now trying to flee to safety.

Dharam Shourie at the United Nations
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