Russia denies “blackmailing” UN chief over Caucasus report

UNITED NATIONS

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin rejected on Thursday Georgian allegations that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had “blackmailed” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over his report on the situation in the Caucasus and threatened to veto the document. 

Georgian Ambassador to the United Nations Alexander Lomaia claimed on Wednesday that the report of the UN secretary general was prepared under Russian blackmail. Quoting “reliable sources” he alleged Lavrov exerted pressure on the UN secretariat while visiting UN headquarters in New York in early May, when he participated in the UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

“I need no sources of information, as I was personally present at the meeting of minister (Lavrov) with the UN secretary general, which he (Lomaia) quotes and which took place on May 11,” Churkin said.

“Russia did not threaten any veto in the process of drafting the report of the secretary general. It simply outlined its opinion on various aspects of the report or the headline, which it should have,” Churkin said.

Lomaia’s “claims are wrong in all respects” and his sources are unreliable, Churkin said, adding he supports the corresponding statement by the spokesperson of the UN secretary general.

The spokesperson said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “spoke out against Georgia’s claim that he was coerced by Russia into amending his recent report on the Caucasus nation.”

Lomaia’s claim “that the Secretary-General amended his report on Georgia in response to ‘Russian blackmail’ is categorically rejected,” the spokesperson said.

The adoption of the publication’s title – “Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1808 (2008), 1839 (2008) and 1866 (2009)” – “was meant to avoid unnecessary politicization of the debate among members of the Security Council and reflected his view of what all members could live with,” according to the spokesperson.

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