Russia pushes for own peace plan in Georgia, US opposes

Other News Materials 22 August 2008 04:17 (UTC +04:00)

Russia late Thursday submitted a formal text to the UN Security Council aimed at ending the conflict in Georgia, but the United States and Britain said they were not ready to vote for it, dpa reported.

The 15-nation council also had a second draft resolution for consideration from France, the current president of the European Union, which called for the immediate and definite withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a ceasefire and international negotiations to settle the issues between Georgia and Russia.

British Ambassador John Sawers told reporters following a two-hour closed-door discussion by the council that the body was not ready to adopt either the Russian or the French draft because of the unsettled conditions on the ground in Georgia.

"We do need to see real progress on the ground," Sawers said referring to demands for Russia to pull out of Georgia.

The French draft did not mention the six-point plan earlier worked out by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, which diplomats said was intended to first end the fighting before political negotiations can begin. The fighting erupted on August 7 between Russian and Georgian troops in South Ossetia.

The six-point plan had received support from Moscow and Tbilisi with some clarifications provided by Paris regarding the issues of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, which were not mentioned in the plan.

US Deputy Ambassador Alenjandro Wolff said council members asked Russia to provide various clarifications, including on its military withdrawal and intentions for maintaining some crack troops inside Georgian territory, before its plan could be considered.

Until Russia has clarified its policies in Georgia, Wolff said, "We are not prepared to vote for it."

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the withdrawal has already started.

"It's a working situation and the Security Council is behind as to the situation on the ground," Churkin said.

The US, Russia, Britain, France and China are permanent members of the council with veto power.

Russia on Wednesday introduced a draft resolution to counter the French draft, both of which seek to end the conflict, but differed in their goals. The Russian text is based on the six-point plan earlier presented by France.

The six-point plan called on all parties in the Georgian conflict to renounce the use of force, end hostilities immediately and definitively, allow free access to humanitarian aid, withdraw Georgian forces to their barracks, withdraw Russian forces to deployment lines prior to August 7, and hold international talks for lasting stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The council ended its Thursday's session without scheduling its next meeting.