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20 août 2008 - Géorgie : Commentaires informels de M. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. - Conseil de Sécurité.

I will be very brief because I just saw the draft resolution that was circulated by Russia.

I was not at the Council, I was briefing our partners from the European Union Georgia. I will reserve my comment to Ambassador Churkin as far as the draft is concerned.

But there is one thing I would like to say by way of preliminary comment. Our objective and this have been stated on and on by us, and it is an objective of the European Union, it is to have the Security Council endorse a road map for the settlement. And the key element is the six-point plan.

We have been having discussion with our partners in the Security Council, the members of the EU sitting at the Council, the US, Russia, of course we have been talking with Georgia as well, and we have been discussing quite extensively over the last days on a way to put together a draft resolution that would meet that goal of endorsing the six-point plan and also meet the indispensable objective of reaching consensus, unanimity, among the members of the Council.

We have to continue that work, obviously, because that objective is still there, but even on a draft that aims at securing the six-point agreement in a resolution there are important issues that had to be addressed and discussed, and actually we have been discussing these issues with our partners.

Georgia has a history at the Security Council. There is a string of resolutions that have been adopted over time on this issue ; they all reaffirm the principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Georgia.

This is a very important principle for us, it is a position of the Security Council, this is a very important issue in the framework of our discussion on a resolution that would endorse the six-point agreement.

There is also an equally important issue regarding the additional security measures that Russian forces would be able to carry out pending the putting in place of an international mechanism, and I am referring to clarifications that were put forward after discussion with the parties and that were made public in a form of a communiqué by President Sarkozy including a letter from President Sarkozy to President Saakachvili.

These elements are important because they specify the kind of additional security measures Russian forces would be allowed to implement pending the putting in place of an international mechanism.

There is also an important element which is that we have to give some sort of perspective as to the establishment of an international mechanism, although this obviously would have to be devised and refined further and possibly be subject to another resolution of the Security Council further down the line. So there is a bunch of issues that have to be discussed, that were discussed. We are willing to continue to discuss with all our partners European, US, Russia, and obviously Georgia.

It is an ongoing process, but as I said, things have to be further explored and elaborated. I would repeat that our goal, of course, remains to have the Security Council take action and actually endorse the plan as was decided by the Ministers of the European Union when they met last Wednesday.

Russian formally presented this draft resolution to France several days ago and the French raised no objections. Is that the case ?

We had discussions with the Russians. I don’t want to enter into the detail of the discussions with Russian and other parties.. These negotiations are ongoing and if I say there are several issues that have to be addressed, I mention those issues. We will be continuing this discussion. But you know, we have to reach unanimity. I mentioned the issues that are very important for us in order to get that kind of resolution that would be supported by all members of the council.

Are you going to withdraw your draft now ?

Well I think this is the same question. It is on the table. The initiative we took yesterday, as I explained, is completely in line with the efforts that we are pursuing in order to advance in the implementation of the six-point plan. But we took that initiative as I said yesterday, because we have concerns regarding the lack of withdrawal of Russian troops in spite of the commitments that were taken by Russia. So we will be, as far as this draft resolution is still on the table, we will assess the situation on the ground and whether there are concrete and credible signs of withdrawal in the days ahead and we will see, based on this, where we take it from here.

Is this the only element of your draft that you insist on or is there/it one of the three elements of your draft that you would like to have ?

I have been trying to sum up what kind discussion we were having with other partners, have to be discussed in the framework of these negotiations. You know there might be other fixes but frankly I think this would be definitely the main elements that we have to further.

Do you think this Russian will command support in the Council or do you think that yours has more support ?

Frankly, I cannot speak for the other members of the Council. I just saw this resolution five minutes ago, after its circulation. So I think it requires of course discussion with members of the Security Council. But I would say this is not a new process. We have been discussing for the last days on how to secure the kind of resolution that would provide a framework for a settlement based on the six-point plan. And we will continue to do that. I’m sorry, I won’t continue much because, as I said I would be brief, I don’t have much more to add for the moment.

On principle six, yesterday, Ambassador Churkin said that President Sarkozy, in his agreement with president Medvedev, had the word "status" in the first thing, and it is only when he travelled back to Tbilissi that he made a call and said "please take the word "status" out ". Could President Sarkozy leave with the word "status" in point 6 ?

One thing is clear, it is that the six points are what they are, and you will see that they have been endorsed or supported by the European Union, and I think in pretty much equal words, and also - being although different languages - actually signed by Georgia, signed by Russia, signed by the Ossetian side and the Abkhazian side, so I think there is pretty much clarity. The six points are clear, we have to go ahead and implement that, based on all the elements that I mentioned in this discussion.

But Russia seems to interpret point six as meaning that the two areas could become independent at the end of these talks, whereas you seem to be saying that no, this means territorial integrity for ever ? If they have talks, could these areas become independent, in your reading of the point six ?

Our position is a very strongly held position and it is the position of the EU, it is the position of the Security Council : we stand by Georgia’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

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