Abkhazia: UN Is Still Divided Over Status
Discussions of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia stymied UN’s efforts.
A rift over the status of Georgia’s […] South Ossetia and Abkhazia enclaves stymied efforts by the UN Security Council yesterday to agree a resolution endorsing the truce deal between Moscow and Tbilisi, diplomats said.
The 15-member Council had been expected to hold consultations yesterday [17 August 2008] on a revised draft resolution that would give a UN stamp of approval to the French-brokered accord that ended five days of fighting for control of the two Moscow-backed […] regions.
But a UN spokesman and diplomats said such consultations did not take place yesterday [17 August 2008] as bargaining continued between the French sponsors of the text and the Russian delegation.
One diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said French and Russian diplomats had yet to agree on compromise language regarding the issue of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
European and US diplomats insist that Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia must be acknowledged in the proposed text.
The diplomat said the Russians “prefer that there be no reference to Georgia’s territorial integrity” and believe that “we should deal with reality on the ground.”
The Russians say that in the wake of the conflict, South Ossetia and Abkhazia have made it clear they do not want to be part of Georgia.
Russian diplomats see a parallel between the predicament faced by South Ossetians and Abkhazians and the fate of Kosovo’s Albanian majority who unilaterally seceded from Serbia last February  despite vehement opposition from Belgrade and Moscow.
It was unclear when a new compromise draft would be submitted to the full 15-member council for approval.
On Saturday [16 August 2008], UN chief Ban Ki-moon met separately at his New York residence with the US, Russian, French and Georgian envoys to press them to find consensus on the draft.
Ban also had telephone conversations with the Belgian ambassador, in his capacity as chair of the Security Council this month [August 2008], and with the ambassador of China. He confers with the British envoy today [18 August 2008].
On Saturday [16 August 2008], Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the French-brokered truce deal, a day after his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili did so and a week after Russian forces blitzed through Georgia to counter a Georgian military offensive against […] [resistance] in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Under the accord, all forces in Georgia, a former Soviet republic which is seeking to join Nato, are to withdraw to positions held prior to the Russian invasion.
However, Russia is allowed to take unspecified extra security measures.