Russia has introduced a new draft resolution on the situation in Georgia at the U.N. Security Council. The move follows less than a day after France circulated a revised text on the subject that Moscow said it could not support. From United Nation's headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Wednesday that the Russian draft is intended to put the Security Council on track with the six principles agreed to last week by the Russian and French presidents and signed onto by Georgia.
"We think that it [our draft] is a straightforward thing and we see no reason why members of the Security Council could not approve or endorse the six principles which were annunciated by the presidents of Russia and France and which form the basis of the current effort to resolve and normalize the situation," Churkin said.
The six principles in that plan, and articulated in the Russian draft resolution, are a cessation of hostilities; a promise for the parties not to revert to violence; free 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 security and stability arrangements in the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Ambassador Churkin said the French draft resolution is unacceptable because it contains only the demand for compliance with the cease-fire agreement, the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-conflict positions and the return of Georgian forces to their usual bases.
But the French draft does have language reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Georgia - language that is absent from the Russian draft and could be a sticking point for several council members.
U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff was dismissive of the Russian draft, saying that Moscow has subscribed to the six points but has yet to implement them.
"This draft resolution is intended to rubber stamp a Russian interpretation that we do not agree with," he said. "We do have an agreement, it has been signed, it is not being implemented. The Security Council adopting a resolution repeating it is not going to change the facts. Either the Russian Federation will comply with its obligations as a party to this conflict, or a resolution that reiterates those points if they are not going to be compliant is not worthy of the Security Council."
France's deputy ambassador, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, said his delegation's draft still remains on the table. He said France and the European Union's main objective is to have the Security Council endorse a road map for settlement of the conflict.
Earlier this month, Russia sent scores of tanks and thousands of troops into Georgia saying it had to protect Russian citizens and peacekeepers. The move came after Georgia sent forces into South Ossetia - a breakaway Georgian province that favors Russia. The Georgian operation was aimed at bringing the area back under Tbilisi's control.