International Observers to Leave Abkhazia

Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution extending the presence of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Abkhazia. At issue was the language used to describe the mission. Georgian leaders wanted it to continue to be called the “United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia,” while Russian officials wanted the description to reflect Abkhazia’s independence. Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly I. Churkin had this to say to the Washington Post:

“The Sakaashvili regime put an end to the territorial integrity of his country, and on the world map two new states emerged, the Republic of Abkhazia and the Republic of South Ossetia.”

Alexander Lomaia, Georgia’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the New York Times:

“It is very unfortunate and alarming that the Secretariat has submitted to Russian blackmail.”

Of the 15 Security Council members, the 10 who voted in favor of the resolution were Austria, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, France, the UK and the US. Abstaining were China, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam.