Russia's U.N. ambassador says his government will not support a French-sponsored draft Security Council resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia. From United Nation's headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the council Tuesday that the French draft does not contain the six principles agreed to in Moscow last week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.
"The Russian Federation will not be able to support the draft resolution of the Security Council submitted by France today. The representative of France has just referred to two elements in the peace plan. There are six principles which were proclaimed by the presidents of France and Russia," he said.
As a permanent Security Council member, Russia could veto the French resolution if it comes to vote.
The six principles Churkin referred to are a cessation of hostilities; a promise for the parties not to revert to violence; access to humanitarian aid; the return of Georgian troops to their permanent bases; the withdrawal of Russian forces to their pre-conflict positions; and the opening of international discussions on models for security and stability in the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
France requested Tuesday's emergency council meeting and circulated the new, watered-down draft among the 15-members. The new text only calls on Russia to comply with the cease-fire agreement and demanding the immediate withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces to pre-August sixth positions.
In an open session, several council members expressed concern that Russian troops continue to be present in Georgia, despite commitments and assurances that they would be withdrawing. The United States was among those members. U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff: "Whatever the reasons the Russia Federation claims it had to enter Georgia, it is abundantly clear today, on August 19th, that it has no business being in Georgia anymore and needs to leave," he said.
France's deputy U.N. ambassador said his delegation would wait to see how the situation evolved on the ground in Georgia before deciding whether to press for a vote on the resolution