Just to get the full picture of US Ambassador’s Khalilzad pure fiction about the circumstances of S Ossatia and the firm response by Churkin, Ambassador from Russia.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD (United States) explained that his country had asked for today’s meeting in view of the dramatic and dangerous developments of the past 24 hours in and around Georgia. First, there had been intensive Russian military activity in the South Ossetia region, including an influx of many thousands of troops beyond the several hundred Russian peacekeepers present when the crisis had begun. Military operations against Georgian forces in the conflict zone had escalated dramatically. Second, the conflict had expanded with the launch of a Russian-backed military offensive in the Abkhaz region of Georgia, preceded by a demand by Abkhazia for the withdrawal of the peacekeeping presence in the Kodori Valley. That area had since been bombed in what was a direct challenge to a Security Council-mandated Mission, and some Abkhaz officials had stated their intention to drive Georgian officials out of the Valley.
Moreover, the Russian Federation had been attacking villages and cities elsewhere in Georgia, including via air attacks and an attack on the Tbilisi airport, he said. Russian military attacks had also destroyed other critical infrastructure, including seaports. The result of that escalation against a sovereign State that had not posed a direct threat to Russia had increased the number of casualties and suffering among the Georgian population. Against the backdrop of heightened violence, Russian forces had actually impeded the withdrawal of Georgian forces from South Ossetia and prevented concrete Georgian steps to de-escalate the situation. Russian intransigence was evidenced by its refusal to stop the violence. Georgia had offered a ceasefire and respect for prior agreements, but Russia had refused to accept that and continued to resist international efforts at mediation of the conflict, which was now between Russia and Georgia.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that, unfortunately, the content of Mr. Pascoe’s briefing had shown that the Secretariat and its leadership were unable to adopt an objective position, as required by the substance of the conflict. Over the past three or four days, the Council had been holding meetings on the situation, which had arisen due to the aggression by Georgia against South Ossetia. The meetings had begun at the initiative of the Russian Federation, which had insisted on an open format. Today’s meeting was taking place on the joint initiative of Georgia and the United States. Everybody knew how close relations between those States had become in recent years. During preceding meetings, Georgia’s representative had named some supposedly Russian citizens in South Ossetia as proof that Russia was governing South Ossetia. According to the Russian delegation’s information, however, Georgia had at least 127 advisers from the United States Department of Defense. On 7 August, the day when Georgia had launched military actions against South Ossetia, there had been a joint Georgia-United States military exercise under the name “Immediate Response“.
The current events were not unexpected, he continued, noting that Russia had on many occasions drawn international attention to the situation in South Ossetia, in particular Georgia’s efforts to increase its offensive weapons. In fact, Georgia had increased its military budget by 30 times, and now the purpose of that action was becoming clear. When speaking of the close cooperation between the United States and Georgia, the Russian Federation did not wish to think that the United States had given the green light on the Georgian leadership’s military action. The Russian Federation was in close contact with the United States and believed that cooperation with partners should continue in order to restore peace to Georgia.
At the beginning of its aggression against South Ossetia, Georgia’s representatives had stated that his country was beginning a war against South Ossetia, he recalled, noting that Georgia was undertaking the re-establishment of constitutional order in South Ossetia by trying to resolve a 50-year-long conflict through military means. Its military action had begun with tank and heavy artillery attacks on Russian peacekeepers, which had resulted in 12 deaths. The Russian Federation wondered whether the term “ethnic cleansing” could be used to describe Georgia’s actions. What other terms could be used when 30,000 of South Ossetia’s population of 100,000 had become refugees? Could it be described as genocide when 2,000 out of 100,000 people died?
How many civilians had to die before it was described as genocide? he asked. When others were lamenting the death of civilians in Georgia, why weren’t they worried about the attacks on villages in South Ossetia? How could the international community react when, despite all the international agreements — Russian peacekeepers were acting in South Ossetia in accordance with the agreement of 1992, signed by Georgia and South Ossetia — Georgia directly targeted peacekeepers and civilians? Had Georgia expected peacekeepers to run away as they had in Srebrenica? The Russian Federation could not allow the civilian population in South Ossetia or peacekeepers to be attacked. It was not occupying South Ossetia, and its reaction had been appropriate. The question was whether the Georgian side was reasonable in its aggression.
The current situation had consequences not only in the region but also beyond, he continued, making an analogy with Kosovo, by pointing out that nobody had limited the definition of what had happened in Kosovo when the bombing of Belgrade had started. The Russian Federation rejected the suggestion of indiscriminate military action on its part. Reference had been made to a statement, allegedly by Russian prisoners, that they had supposedly been ordered to bomb indiscriminately. Such references were unacceptable in an open Council meeting, as was the reference by the representative of the United States regarding terror against civilians, particularly when his country’s own actions against the civilian populations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia were known. “Let’s try to reach a serious political decision and not propaganda. Let’s not undertake propaganda activities at the Security Council.”
Turning to the Kodori Valley, he recalled that his delegation had on many occasions said that Abkhazia should come to the Council and explain its position. The Russian Federation had drawn attention to the unacceptable situation in the Kodori Valley, “so why are you surprised now?” Regarding the Black Sea fleet, it had started to patrol the coast and a note to that effect had been sent to the Georgian authorities. The aim was to protect Russian citizens and provide support to peacekeepers and humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in the zone of conflict. The Russian Federation aimed to establish a security zone and not to establish a maritime blockade. It was acting in accordance with its right to self-defence under the United Nations Charter.
He said he had heard a strange statement that the Russian Federation was refusing international efforts to settle the situation when, in fact, President Dmitry Medvedev had been talking with President George W. Bush, and the Foreign Minister had been on the phone with the Secretary of State. Russia was “explaining everything, listening to everybody”, including representatives of the European community. With respect to the Georgian representative’s surprise that the President of Russia had refused to talk to the President of Georgia, what reasonable person would agree to talk to him right now? Russia had repeatedly told Georgia that trying to resolve the situation through military means would be “suicide” for Georgia.
I’m sorry BooMan, you are rehashing western propaganda similar to the reaction of our future president McShame or Hussein. Doesn’t promise to be a bright future for American foreign policy in the next decade. A bit of introspection wouldn’t hurt.
The facts on the ground in Abkhazia are as follows. The president of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh is a dictator like Georgian Saakashvili. There is an uncomfortable truce with a number of skirmishes like downing a Georgian UVA (made in Israel) earlier this year. There are a UN Mission and Russian peacekeeping force along a stretch of disputed land in the Kodori Gorge separating the two ‘states’. Abkhazia has called on Russia to remove its peacekeepers, who have left along with most civilians living in this area. The Abhazian troops are poised and have announced they will move into this area and take possession, now that Georgia is preoccupied with its military aggression in S Ossatia.
Commander in Chief Saakashvili is spending all of his time dumping propaganda trash over western viewers, especially the gullible and naive American citizens. Both presidential candidates included. That’s true horror.
(Bloomberg) – About 2,500 Russian peacekeepers were deployed on the border between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia before the conflict began, according to the Russian government. They serve under a under a Commonwealth of Independent States mandate. A United Nations observer mission has been deployed on the border since 1993.