- Condoleezza Rice - Dmitry Medvedev - Georgia - NATO - Russia
The U.N. Security Council met on Tuesday to discuss a Western-drafted resolution on Georgia, calling on Russia to withdraw its troops immediately to lines held before the recent conflict. Moscow rejected the draft resolution.
“It’s a very short and dry draft,” reports Philippe Bolopion, FRANCE 24/RFI correspondent in New York. “It calls for the territorial integrity of Georgia, the immediate withdrawal of troops to their usual posts and compliance with the French-brokered ceasefire signed by both Russia and Georgia,” Bolopion explains. “In some ways it’s a way to mount pressure on Russia” he added.
The draft replaces a longer text that would have endorsed a peace plan promoted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and was expected to be vetoed by Russia. “It seems France and other powers ran out patience and tabled this symbolic resolution out of frustration,” Bolopion reports.
According to our correspondent, it’s rare for the UN Security Council to push a country towards a veto in this manner. “The idea is to tell Russia that it has made promises which haven’t been fulfilled,” adds Bolopion.
NATO toughens its stance
Chastising Russia’s failure to withdraw from Georgia earlier on Tuesday, NATO allies warned that there could be “no business as usual” with Moscow until Russia fully complied with last week’s ceasefire agreement.
In a joint declaration released following an emergency crisis meeting in Brussels Tuesday, foreign ministers of the 26-member alliance warned that NATO’s future relations with Moscow would depend on “concrete actions” by Russia.
In her address following the talks, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted that there was “very strong language in the declaration and very strong language around the table” at Tuesday’s talks on “the need for Russia to honour the ceasefire agreement as it was undertaken.”
‘Absolutely zero evidence’ of Russian withdrawal
The meeting comes as Russian troops in Georgia showed little signs of pulling back, according to Georgian officials and reporters on the ground.
Reporting from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi Tuesday, FRANCE 24’s Robert Parsons said there was “absolutely zero evidence” that Russian troops were leaving either the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia or the Georgian heartland.
More than a week after Russian troops advanced into Georgia following a Georgian attack on the Russian-backed, breakaway province of South Ossetia, Parsons described the mood in Tbilisi as “very highly strung.”
With the Russian military still planted in strategic locations in the Georgian heartland -including the town of Gori and the Senaki military base in western Georgia- Parsons said the residents of Tbilisi were “very edgy indeed.”