France has introduced a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council,
seeking a solution to the current military crisis between Georgia and Russia
over the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. From United Nation's
headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer reports the council met late
Monday afternoon -- its fifth meeting in as many days on the situation.
France circulated a draft resolution at the closed-door meeting. It
calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities; a return of Russian and
Georgian forces to pre-August sixth positions; and respect for the sovereignty,
territorial integrity and independence of Georgia. France's deputy U.N.
Ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the text also expresses strong support for
mediation efforts undertaken by the European Union and OCSE or Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe.
"This is what we are discussing with
both Georgia and Russia. We've had a favorable reaction from the Georgian side,
and we hope that there will be equally responsive and favorable reaction from
the Russian side," he said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his
delegation had not been consulted about the draft as it was being written, and
he had only seen a copy briefly. Churkin said he felt the move was premature,
particularly as France's president will meet his counterpart in Moscow on
Tuesday. "I hope eventually there is an agreement, a resolution, that is going
to be worked out together with us, which will be adopted unanimously, if need
be, in order to resolve this situation. But I cannot see us, let me tell you,
accepting this French draft of the resolution," he said.
The crisis in
the Caucasus country has strained relations between the United States and
Russia. Diplomats at the closed-door session said the U.S. ambassador again
accused Russia of trying to depose Georgia's president. For his part, the
Russian ambassador accused the United States of being a party to the conflict.
The United States is a staunch ally of Georgia, and on Monday, U.S. President
George Bush demanded that Russia end what he called its "dramatic and brutal
escalation" of violence in Georgia.
Heavy fighting erupted last week
when Russian forces invaded South Ossetia in response to a Georgian military
operation against separatists. Russia sent thousands of troops into the region
and took over the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.