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27 Aug, 2008 02:43

Russia urges UN to back independence move

Russia has officially informed the UN Secretary General about the country's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia’s independence. The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has called on the Securi

He started a media conference in New York by reading a statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry.

“Russia has recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, mindful of its responsibility for ensuring the survival of their fraternal peoples in the face of the aggressive, chauvinistic policy pursued by Tbilisi,” it says. 

“Saakashvili has himself dashed the possibility of the territorial integrity of Georgia. Using repeatedly brutal military force against the peoples, whom, according to his words, he would like to see within his state, Mikhail Saakashvili left them no other choice but to ensure their security and the right to exist through self-determination as independent states.”

Vitaly Churkin said after Georgia’s attack the situation in the region has completely changed: “Georgia’s use of force against South Ossetia dashed previous Security Council resolutions that acknowledge Abkhazia and South Ossetia as part of its territorial integrity and created a completely new reality”.

He also dismissed allegations that Russia is preparing to annex the two regions after the recognition of their sovereignty. He said that borders around Abkhazia and South Ossetia are now, according to Russia, international.

According to Ambassador Churkin, the Russian Foreign Ministry will begin talks with the Abkhazian and South Ossetian authorities to work out a treaty on friendship, co-operation and mutual assistance.

Ambassador Churkin said Russia is not playing the so called “Kosovo card” with South Ossetia or Abkhazia, but rather, is granting independence to those striving for safety and security: “I believe Abkhazia and South Ossetia have many more reasons and legal ground for their independence than Kosovo. They have a much stronger case”.

The Georgian ambassador to the UN, Irakli Alasania has also addressed the media and has called on the international community to condemn Russia’s decision.

“Georgia on its behalf will make use of all possible diplomatic, political and economic tools to present the rest of the world the real face of the Russian policy,” he said, adding that the new development has no international standing with regards to Georgia’s sovereignty.

But when after the meeting a reporter questioned Alasania about Georgia's role in a peace initiative after the alleged ethnic cleansing of citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetians in 1992, the Georgian envoy lashed back, saying: “I think you sound like Russian propaganda”.