Tags: russian | standoff

U.S. Diplomat: Washington Doesn't Care

Monday, 11 Aug 2008 04:15 PM

By Stewart Stogel

United Nations — U.S. diplomatic sources, speaking on background, tell Newsmax they have "no pressure" from the White House to break the impasse in the U.N. Security Council on Russia's invasion of Georgia.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, has insisted that all Georgian military forces pledge not to re-enter the breakaway regions now occupied by Moscow. The U.S. and Georgia insist that such conditions would allow a de-facto breakup of international borders and have refused the Russian demands.

As such, an old-fashioned political standoff, reminiscent of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War days has emerged in the Security Council.

The impasse has been highlighted by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad tossing verbal grenades at his Russian counterpart, Vitaly Churkin, who has repeatedly rebuffed them.

While Khalilzad has asked if Moscow's true intent is to overthrow the Georgian government, Churkin shot back, asking if Washington had not "encouraged its Georgian ally" to move troops into the disputed regions sparking the Russian reaction.

Other than playing "point-counterpoint," the U.N. has remained powerless. Published reports claim as many as 2,000 people have been killed since the fighting began last week.

"We have no pressure from Washington," confided the U.S. diplomat.

The veteran U.S. official added that the only pressure is coming from "the public and the media."

"We don't want to see any quick Council action," he explained.

He added that a resolution condemning the Russian action is sure to face a veto. It would also get the issue off the Council's table, something Washington does not want.

The source pointed out that the French have sent President Nikolas Sarkozy to Moscow to see Kremlin officials.

"We (the U.S.) have only sent an assistant secretary of state. What does that tell you?"

President George Bush, who conferred with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Olympics in Beijing, refused to shorten his Asian trip and will return to Washington Monday night.

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