Russia and west divided over Georgia peace plan

Russia and key Western nations remained at odds today over a United Nations resolution aimed at bringing peace to Georgia.

Russia and key Western nations remained at odds today over a United Nations resolution aimed at bringing peace to Georgia.

The US, France and Britain insisted on immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and also sought a commitment from Russia on Georgia's territorial integrity, according to UN diplomats.

Russia put its draft resolution into a form that could be put to a vote in the UN Security Council. However, Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin did not indicate when he would call for a vote.

The Russian resolution restates and endorses a six-point peace plan promoted by French president Nicolas Sarkozy and signed last week by Russia and Georgia.

"Our draft resolution is a reconfirmation of the six-point agreement, and there's no territorial integrity in the six principles," Mr Churkin said after a council meeting yesterday that had been called by Russia.

"We believe the six principles are clear and already implemented."

But the US and its European allies have criticised Russia for continuing military operations in Georgia despite last week's ceasefire. The ceasefire says both Russian and Georgian forces must pull back to positions they held before fighting broke out on August 7 in Georgia's South Ossetia region, which has close ties to Russia.

The American, British and French envoys made clear yesterday that they would not accept a resolution that did not embody clarifications of the six-point plan, including an immediate Russian withdrawal and reaffirmation of Georgia's territorial integrity.

"What we see on the ground is the result of ambiguity," US deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff said.

"We have a presence of so-called Russian peacekeeping forces at key Georgian choke points that will control economic life, it will control humanitarian activities. ... That's why clarifications are so important."

Mr Wolff said if the resolution was put to a vote without such clarifications, "we would be prepared to oppose it".

Britain's UN ambassador John Sawers said, "We need clarity on Russian intentions and Russian withdrawal."

France's deputy ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said all parties were determined to work towards a unanimous resolution.

A French draft resolution put forward on Tuesday demands full and immediate compliance with the ceasefire and the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces to positions they occupied before the start of the fighting.

It remains on the table, and diplomats say there are efforts under way to try to find a compromise acceptable to all 15 council members.

Mr Lacroix said the agreement must address territorial integrity and "the modalities" for Russian peacekeepers in the disputed territory.

The six-point plan includes a passage allowing "additional security measures" by Russian peacekeepers pending the installation of an international monitoring mechanism.

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