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Monday, October 19, 2009

Russia: 'We'll veto Goldstone referral to ICC'

Although Russia voted in favor of referring the Goldstone Report to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Israel's foreign ministry says that it has received messages from Russia indicating that it will use its veto in the Security Council to prevent the report from being discussed in the Security Council or referred to the International Criminal Court.
The remarks were made in a meeting between Russian Ambassador to Israel Peter Stegney and a Foreign Ministry official. The ambassador relayed messages from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Ministry sources said.


Stegney noted that Russia had voted in favor of passing the report to the UN headquarters in New York "because it had no choice," and even blamed European Union countries. According to the ambassador, the EU tried to ease the resolution's wording, but failed "due to the stance of Western countries."

Stegney stressed that Russia believes Israel should investigate itself. "The most important thing is that the peace process won't suffer," the Russian ambassador said.

State officials said that Stegney had slammed the Goldstone Report, saying that "it includes statements that do not relay on facts, but rather on subjective estimations."
Russian denial coming in 4, 3, 2, 1.....

No, I don't trust the Russians. The only real motivation they have to vote against Goldstone is that it could be used against them some day in Chechnya (or Georgia or Ukraine, although the latter two countries don't have terrorists and the Russians are bullying them). If that were to happen, I believe the Russians would just ignore it or get the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) and the 'non-aligned' countries to bail them out.

Another motivation the Russians may have - which I don't regard as real because its effect is an illusion, but which is likely to be the price Israel will pay for Russian support in the Security Council - is to make Israel show up at Russia's 'peace conference.'
One official said the Moscow conference may be in peril now, not because Israel is trying to punish Russia, but rather because the diplomatic process - as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned - would be harmed as a result of the Palestinian Authority's pushing the Goldstone Report forward.

"This is not a threat, just a statement of fact," the official said.


Russia has been trying for nearly two years to put together a Middle East conference as a follow up to the November 2007 Annapolis conference, but so far to no avail. Israel had up to now not objected, but just wanted to ensure that the timing was right and that the meeting would be more than just a photo opportunity.

The Middle East Quartet, made up of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, reaffirmed at its meeting last month its call for a conference in Moscow.
Israel ought not to show up for that conference anyway.

What could go wrong?


At 4:37 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Russians voted for the resolution as a way of sticking their thumb in the eyes of the Americans. Still, it is worth nothing Ukraine did vote with Israel. If given a choice, I would have Israel develop closer relations with Ukraine than with Russia.

The Russian price for vetoing Goldstone is too high for Israel to accept. Israel should decline the cynical Russian offer.


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