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12 Aug, 2008 13:31

War of words over South Ossetia resumes at the UN

A fifth meeting of the UN Security Council has ended in no decision made on the conflict in South Ossetia. Russia has once again reiterated that its intentions in the region are purely for peacekeeping purposes, despite the international community accusin

The session has been held behind closed doors.

The French side has prepared a draft resolution which is expected to be presented for consideration of the UN Security Council members in the nearest future.

France says this resolution is going to be simple and straightforward, and will include four basic elements: an immediate cessation of hostilities, returning to the status quo which existed before violence escalated on August 6, respect for Georgia's integrity and international help in finding a solution.

Georgia says it is completely happy with the principles outlined in France's draft resolution while Russia is not.

After the meeting Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin has commented to the media on Russia’s stance.
“The French draft is lacking a number of serious matters of principle: there is no principle qualification of what has happened in South Ossetia, no reference to Georgian aggression, no reference to the atrocities we have seen. You mentioned pulling out Russian forces as a gesture of our good will – it has nothing to do with good will! It has everything to do with the survival of South Ossetians! You should understand the situation: there is a small people exposed to possible attacks from Georgia. They are clearly outnumbered by the Georgian forces and worse equipped. So we pull out our forces, and what if the Georgians launch an attack again?” Churkin said.

To watch Vitaly Churkin’s media briefing after the UN Security Council meeting, please follow the link 

Meanwhile, it was expected that the U.S. will propose a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire, though Russia has made it clear – what it wants first is the withdrawal of Georgia troops and an agreement on the non-use of force.

Russia’s actions are ‘unacceptable’: Bush

Meanwhile, earlier the U.S. President George Bush has expressed deep concern over the conflict in South Ossetia.

He criticised Moscow's action in the region as 'unacceptable' and added it has damaged Russia's standing in the world.

Bush also claimed there's evidence Russian forces may be threatening Georgia's capital Tbilisi.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that Russian troops have moved beyond the zone of conflict, attacked the Georgian town of Gori and are threatening Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. There’s evidence Russian forces may soon begin the bombing of a civilian airport in the capital city. These reports are accurate. These Russian actions would represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia. These actions would be inconsistent with assurances we have received from Russia that its objectives were limited to restoring the status quo in South Ossetia that existed before the fighting began on August 6. Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens its democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century,” the American president said.