SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF OBSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JULY

30 January 1998
SC/6473

SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF OBSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JULY

30 January 1998

Press ReleaseSC/6473

SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF OBSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JULY

19980130 Resolution 1150 (1998) Calls on Parties To Work Constructively To Achieve Comprehensive Settlement of Conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia

Reiterating its deep concern that no significant progress had been made on the key issues in the settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, the Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 July. That decision is subject to a review in the event of any changes in the mandate of the peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the region.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1150 (1998), the Council called on the parties -- the Georgian Government and Abkhaz leaders -- to work constructively with the Secretary-General, his Special Representative and the Russian Federation, in its role as facilitator, to achieve a comprehensive settlement. he Council also called on them to intensify the search for a peaceful solution by further expanding their contacts, and emphasized that the primary responsibility for reinvigorating the peace process rests with the parties themselves.

The Council noted with satisfaction that much groundwork had been laid towards achieving substantive progress in the peace process, and commended the parties for the constructive approach shown at the Geneva meeting between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides on 17 to 19 November 1997. It also welcomed the establishment and the first meetings of the Coordinating Council and of working groups, under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General's Special Representative, and stressed the importance of the effective working of those bodies to help progress towards a settlement.

The Coordinating Council was established to implement the provisions of the Concluding Statement adopted at the Geneva meeting, which, among others, welcomed the Secretary-General's proposal to strengthen the involvement of the United Nations in the peacemaking process and approved a programme of action for its implementation.

Reaffirming the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in secure conditions, the Council stressed the urgent need for progress in that area, in particular from the Abkhaz side. It also reaffirmed the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict.

It encouraged the Secretary-General to take necessary steps, in cooperation with the parties, to ensure a prompt and safe return of the refugees and displaced persons to their homes.

The Council welcomed the additional steps taken to improve security conditions in order to minimize the danger to UNOMIG personnel and to create conditions for the effective performance of its mandate, and urged the Secretary-General to continue to make further arrangements in that field.

Condemning the intensified activities by armed groups, including the continued laying of mines in the Gali region, the Council called upon the parties to honour fully their commitments to take all measures in their power to prevent such activities. It also called on them to cooperate fully with UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of all international personnel, including those from humanitarian organizations.

The Council encouraged further contributions to address the urgent needs of those suffering most from the consequences of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, particularly internally displaced persons, including contributions to the voluntary fund in support of the implementation of the 1994 Moscow Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces, and/or for humanitarian aspects, including demining. It asked the Secretary-General to consider means of providing technical and financial assistance for reconstruction of the economy of Abkhazia, Georgia, following the successful outcome of the political negotiations.

The Secretary-General was asked to continue to keep the Council regularly informed, to report after three months on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, including on the operations of UNOMIG, and to provide recommendations in that report on the nature of the United Nations presence. The Council expressed its intention to conduct a thorough review of the operation at the end of its current mandate.

The meeting, which was called to order at 3:16 p.m., was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.

Resolution Adopted

The text of resolution 1150 (1998) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions, reaffirming in particular resolution 1124 (1997) of 31 July 1997, and recalling the statement of its President of 6 November 1997 (S/PRST/1997/50),

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"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 19 January 1998 (S/1998/51),

"Supporting the vigorous efforts to move the peace process forward made by the Secretary-General and his Special Representative aimed at achieving a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict, including on the political status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia, respecting fully the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, with the assistance of the Russian Federation as facilitator, as well as of the group of Friends of the Secretary- General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),

"Stressing in this context the importance of the Concluding Statement adopted in Geneva on 19 November 1997 in which both sides welcomed, inter alia, the proposals of the Secretary-General to strengthen the involvement of the United Nations in the peace process, approved a programme of action and set up a mechanism for its implementation,

"Reaffirming the necessity for the parties strictly to respect human rights, expressing its support of the efforts of the Secretary-General to find ways to improve their observance as an integral part of the work towards a comprehensive political settlement, and noting developments in the work of the United Nations Human Rights Office in Abkhazia, Georgia,

"Deeply concerned at the continuing unsettled and tense security situation in the Gali region, characterized by the laying of mines, by a rising number of criminal activities, including kidnapping and murder, and, most seriously, by significantly increased subversive activities by armed groups which disrupt the peace process and impede a settlement of the conflict and the return of refugees, and at the resulting lack of safety and security for the local population, for the refugees and displaced persons returning to the region, for aid workers and for the personnel of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS peacekeeping force),

"Welcoming in this context the contribution that the CIS peacekeeping force and UNOMIG have made to stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict, noting that the cooperation between UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force is good and has continued to develop, and stressing the importance of continued close cooperation and coordination between them in the performance of their respective mandates,

"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 19 January 1998;

"2. Notes with satisfaction that much groundwork has now been laid towards achieving substantive progress in the peace process but reiterates its deep concern that, as yet, no significant progress has been made on the key issues in the settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia;

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"3. Commends the parties for the constructive approach shown at the Geneva meeting on 17 to 19 November 1997, welcomes in this context the establishment and the first meetings of the Coordinating Council and, within its framework, of working groups, under the chairmanship of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and stresses the importance of the effective working of these bodies in order to help progress towards a settlement;

4. Emphasizes that the primary responsibility for reinvigorating the peace process rests upon the parties themselves, and reminds them that the ability of the international community to assist them depends on their political will to resolve the conflict through dialogue and mutual accommodation and on their taking real steps towards bringing about a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict through the speediest possible agreement on and signature of the relevant documents;

"5. Reaffirms the particular importance it attaches to the more active role for the United Nations in the peace process, encourages the Secretary- General and his Special Representative to continue their efforts, with the assistance of the Russian Federation as facilitator, and with the support of the group of Friends of the Secretary-General and the OSCE, and calls upon the parties to work constructively with them to achieve a comprehensive settlement;

6. Encourages the continuation of direct dialogue between the parties, calls upon them to intensify the search for a peaceful solution by further expanding their contracts, and requests the Secretary-General to make available all appropriate support if so requested by the parties;

"7. Recalls the conclusions of the Lisbon summit of the OSCE (S/1997/57, annex) regarding the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, reaffirms the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict and the right of all refugees and displaced persons affected by the conflict to return to their homes in secure conditions in accordance with international law and as set out in the Quadripartite Agreement of 4 April 1994 on the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons (S/1994/397, annex II, (encourages the parties to ensure a prompt and safe return of the refugees and displaced persons to their homes), and stresses the urgent need for progress in this area, in particular from the Abkhaz side;

"8. Calls upon the parties to ensure the full implementation of the Moscow Agreement of 14 May 1994 on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces (S/1994/583, annex I);

"9. Condemns the intensified activities by armed groups, including the continued laying of mines, in the Gali region, and calls upon the parties to honour fully their commitments to take all measures in their power and to

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coordinate their efforts to prevent such activities, and cooperate fully with UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force in order to ensure the safety and the freedom of movement of all personnel of the United Nations, the CIS peacekeeping force and international humanitarian organizations;

"10. Welcomes the additional steps taken in order to improve security conditions so as to minimize the danger to UNOMIG personnel and to create conditions for the effective performance of its mandate, and urges the Secretary-General to continue to make further arrangements in this field;

"11. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 31 July 1998 subject to review by the Council of the mandate of UNOMIG in the event of any changes that may be made in the mandate or in the presence of the CIS peacekeeping force;

"12. Encourages further contributions to address the urgent needs of those suffering most form the consequences of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, in particular internally displaced persons, including contributions to the voluntary fund in support of the implementation of the Moscow Agreement and/or for humanitarian aspects, including demining, as specified by donors, requests the Secretary-General to consider the means of providing technical and financial assistance aimed at the reconstruction of the economy of Abkhazia, Georgia, following the successful outcome of the political negotiations, and welcomes the planning of a needs assessment mission;

"13. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep the Council regularly informed, to report after three months from the date of the adoption of this resolution on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, including on the operations of UNOMIG, and to provide recommendations in that report on the nature of the United Nations presence, and, in this context, expresses its intention to conduct a thorough review of the operation at the end of its current mandate;

"14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

Secretary-General's Report

In considering the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1998/51), in which he states that UNOMIG's presence continues to be a stabilizing factor in the area and recommends the extension of the Mission's mandate for a further period of six months, until 31 July.

The Secretary-General's recommendation was made in the light of the recent steps taken to promote substantive progress in the Georgian/Abkhaz peace process, according to the report. During the reporting period, which covered 28 October 1997 to 14 January 1998, United Nations efforts have been

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further revitalized, in close coordination with the Russian Federation, in its capacity as facilitator, and the OSCE; the role of the group of Friends of the Secretary-General has been clarified and agreed upon; and the Concluding Statement of a high-level meeting between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides has been adopted at Geneva on 19 November 1997, containing a programme of action and a mechanism for its implementation.

That mechanism provides for the establishment of a Coordinating Council and, within its framework, that of working groups on issues related to the military, political and economic ramifications of the peace process, the Secretary-General said. The Coordinating Council and three working groups had been established and had met for the first time last December. Further meetings were planned in January for the working groups, in February for the Coordinating Council, and in March or April for the high-level Geneva mechanism. Progress now depended on the determination of the two sides to negotiate in earnest and to work constructively with the Secretary-General's Special Representative. Progress in the area of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons was urgently needed in order to give additional credibility to the peace process.

The UNOMIG was able to carry out the tasks entrusted to it in relative safety, the report states. The deployment of the ballistic-protected vehicles and the helicopter support, together with the implementation of the recommendations of the security team, would enhance further the security of the Mission's unarmed military observers.

According to the report, UNOMIG continues to operate in the security and restricted weapons zones of the Zugdidi and Gali sectors and in the Kodori Valley. At 15 January, the Mission's strength stood at 106 military observers deployed from 22 countries. Yet, bearing in mind the revised modus operandi, which provides for patrolling in groups of two vehicles at all times, and in the light of the recommendations of the United Nations security team that visited UNOMIG between 5 and 15 November 1997, the strength of the Mission will be restored to 136 observers, as authorized by the Security Council under resolution 937 (1994) of 21 July 1994.

The situation in the Gali and Zugdidi restricted weapons and security zones remains unsettled and tense, the Secretary-General states. Armed activities against the Abkhaz forces and establishments belonging to the Abkhaz authorities increased significantly during the reporting period, particularly in the weeks before the Geneva meeting. The CIS peacekeeping force also suffered several casualties as a result of those activities. For the first time since the beginning of activities by armed elements, important installations and public utility facilities, such as the railway link, the power supply system, road bridges and public restaurants, were targeted. The overall security situation in the mission area was also affected by the rising number of criminal activities, including kidnapping and murder.

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For information media. Not an official record.