20 May 2009 The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) has contributed to the overall security of the local population, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, while cautioning that an agreement on a revised security regime is needed for lasting stability.
Since the Security Council extended UNOMIG’s mandate in February, “the security situation in the Mission’s area of responsibility has remained fragile, with a continued threat of incidents, including from mines and improvised explosive devises,” Mr. Ban writes in a new report.
The local population, particularly in the Gali district, remains in a precarious situation, while the ceasefire regime – which forms the foundation for separation of forces and stabilization – continues to erode, he says.
UNOMIG has a mandate to monitor the 1994 ceasefire ending the war in north-west Georgia that drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. The Mission’s area of responsibility in Abkhazia consists of a security zone, where no military presence is permitted; a restricted weapons zone, where no heavy weapons can be introduced; and the Kodori Valley.
A new security regime, the Secretary-General stresses, must ensure strict adherence to the ceasefire on land, at sea and in the air, as well as to the principle of the non-use of force.
Further, restricted zones must extend for a further 12 kilometres on either side of the ceasefire line and no heavily military equipment must be allowed to enter.
The new regime must also allow for regular UN patrol of the Kodori valley and the world body’s personnel must be given security and full freedom of movement, the report adds.
Once such a regime is in place, Mr. Ban writes that he envisions UNOMIG to maintain contact with the parties and others “with a view to preventing tensions and resolving incidents,” as well as facilitating the free movement of the local population across the ceasefire line.
Additionally, he says the Mission will also contribute to providing humanitarian assistance and creating conditions for the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
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