Tags: Bush | Georgia | UN | visit

White House Prepares for Georgia Battle at U.N.

Monday, 01 Sep 2008 12:36 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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The Russian invasion of neighboring Georgia is to be a main topic on President Bush's final visit to the U.N. on September 23.

The speech at the annual General Assembly is likely to be the president's last major foreign policy address before the U.S. elections in November.

"Georgia will be a main topic in the general debate," explained acting U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Alex Wolff to NewsMax.

Bush is likely to meet with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and a key ally, Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko, during the U.N. gathering.

Yushchenko is remembered for a botched poisoning attempt allegedly by Kremlin agents in 2004. Recently, he has been publicly critical of the Russian invasion and is a major supporter of the embattled Georgian leader, which has infuriated the Kremlin.

While Bush huddles with the Georgian and Ukrainian leaders, Russia intends to send its foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, to New York. Lavrov, a Putin appointee, was also Moscow's longest serving United Nations ambassador (1994-2004).

But, as the Russian will undoubtedly defend the Georgian invasion, he is also likely to turn up the pressure on the White House on several other fronts.

During an earlier visit to New York, Lavrov confided to NewsMax that Moscow was tired of being "bullied" by Washington: "We know there is only one superpower, but we don't need to be hit over the head with it every day."

Last Friday, South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia and its intent to "unify" with Russia.

In an email sent to NewsMax, the Georgian government rejected the Ossetian move and its rejection of any Russian participation in a prospective international force that may be eventually sent to the breakaway regions.

Attempts by the Russian U.N. mission to get U.S. visas for the Ossetian and Abkhaz officials to travel to NYC to meet the Security Council were rejected by Washington.

Neither Washington nor the U.N. recognize the efforts to officially declare independence from Georgia.

Now, it appears that Lavrov will raise the stakes by including those officials in his delegation and daring the U.S. to reject them.

But, Moscow's "point man" is expected to move the confrontation with the Bush administration beyond Georgia. The Russian is expected to huddle with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez during the UN gathering.

Both nations have been recent recipients of significant military aid from the Kremlin.

Israel has expressed concern over the Russian aid to Iran and has threatened to attack if certain missile systems are deployed.

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