SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNOMIG MANDATE UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2001

28 July 2000
SC/6901

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNOMIG MANDATE UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2001

28 July 2000

Press ReleaseSC/6901

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNOMIG MANDATE UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2001

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Resolution 1311 (2000) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this morning decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for a further six months, until 31 January 2001.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1311 (2000), the Council reaffirmed the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict and the imprescriptible right of all refugees and displaced persons affected by the conflict to return to their homes in secure and dignified conditions in accordance with international law as set out in the Quadripartite Agreement of 4 April 1994. Further, it called upon the parties to address the issue urgently and urged them to urgently address, in a concerted manner, as a first step, the undefined and insecure status of spontaneous returnees to the Gali district.

Strongly supporting the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the question of the distribution of competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi, the Council underlined the responsibility of the parties to the conflict to engage in negotiations on the key outstanding issues, in the United Nations led peace process, including the distribution of those competences as part of a comprehensive settlement.

Also by the text, the Council deplored all violent incidents, as well as the development of criminal activities in the conflict zone and called on the two sides to cooperate with each other in the fight against crime.

The Council demanded that both sides strictly observe the Moscow Agreement of 14 May 1994 on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces.

The meeting began at 11:42 a.m. and adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

Text of Resolution

The full text of resolution 1311 (2000) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1287 (2000) of 31 January 2000, and the statement of its President of 11 May 2000 (S/PRST/2000/16), as well as resolution 1308 (2000) of 17 July 2000,

Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6901 4179th Meeting (AM) 28 July 2000

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 21 July 2000 (S/2000/697),

"Recalling the conclusions of the Lisbon (S/1997/57, annex) and Istanbul summits of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) regarding the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia,

"Stressing that the lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, is unacceptable,

"Recalling that, according to its statute, the Coordinating Council of the Georgian and Abkhaz sides should meet every two months, and welcoming, in this regard, the resumption of its work,

"Welcoming the results of the tenth session of the Coordinating Council in Sukhumi on 11 July 2000, in particular the signing by the two sides, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the Commander of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS peacekeeping force) of the protocol related to the stabilization of the situation in the security zone, and the decision that the two sides would accelerate work on the draft protocol on the return of refugees to the Gali region and measures for economic rehabilitation and on the draft agreement on peace and guarantees for the prevention for the non-resumption of hostilities,

"Deeply concerned that, although currently relatively calm, the general situation in the conflict zone remains unstable,

"Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

"Welcoming the important contributions that the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) and the CIS peacekeeping force continue to make in stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict, noting that the working relationship between UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force has been excellent at all levels, stressing the importance of continuing and increasing close cooperation and coordination between them in the performance of their respective mandates, and welcoming also the decision on the extension of the stay of the CIS peacekeeping force in the conflict zone in Abkhazia, Georgia, adopted by the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States on 21 June 2000 (S/2000/629),

"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 21 July 2000;

"2. Strongly supports the sustained efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, with the assistance of the Russian Federation in its capacity as facilitator as well as of the Group of Friends of the Secretary- General and of the OSCE, to promote the stabilization of the situation and the achievement of a comprehensive political settlement, which includes a settlement on the political status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia;

"3. Strongly supports, also, the efforts of the Special Representative on the question of the distribution of competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi, and, in particular, his intention to submit, in the near future, proposals to the parties as a basis for meaningful negotiations on that issue;

"4. Underlines the responsibility of the parties to the conflict to engage in negotiations on the key outstanding issues in the United Nations-led peace process, including on the distribution of competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi as part of a comprehensive settlement;

"5. Welcomes the commitment of the parties not to use force for the resolution of any disputed questions, which must be addressed through negotiations and by peaceful means only, and to refrain from propaganda aimed at the solution of the conflict by force;

"6. Calls on the parties to the conflict, also, to implement earlier agreed confidence-building measures and develop further measures on the basis of the relevant document signed in Sukhumi on 11 July 2000, and recalls, in this context, the invitation of the Government of Ukraine to host, in Yalta, a third meeting aimed at building confidence, improving security and developing cooperation between the parties;

"7. Reaffirms the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict and the imprescriptible right of all refugees and displaced persons affected by the conflict to return to their homes in secure and dignified conditions, in accordance with international law and as set out in the Quadripartite Agreement of 4 April 1994 (S/1994/397, annex II), and calls upon the parties to address this issue urgently by agreeing and implementing effective measures to guarantee the security of those who exercise their unconditional right to return, including those who have already returned;

"8. Urges the parties, in this context, to address urgently and in a concerted manner, as a first step, the undefined and insecure status of spontaneous returnees to the Gali district, including through the re-establishment of functioning local administrative structures in which the returnee population is appropriately represented;

"9. Welcomes steps taken by the Government of Georgia, the United Nations Development Programme, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Bank, aiming at ensuring that the internally displaced persons enjoy their right to be treated in the same manner as all Georgian citizens with full respect, in principle and in practice, for their imprescriptible right to return to their homes in secure and dignified conditions;

"10. Deplores all violent incidents, as well as the development of criminal activities, in the conflict zone, and calls on the two sides to take urgent measures to cooperate with each other in the fight against crime of all sorts and in improving the work of their respective law enforcement organs;

"11. Demands that both sides observe strictly the Moscow Agreement of 14 May 1994 on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces (S/1994/583, annex I);

"12. Welcomes UNOMIG keeping its security arrangements under constant review in order to ensure the highest possible level of security for its staff;

"13. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 31 January 2001, subject to a 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, and expresses its intention to conduct a thorough review of the operation at the end of its current mandate, in the light of steps taken by the parties to achieve a comprehensive settlement;

"14. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to keep the Council regularly informed and to report three months from the date of the adoption of this resolution on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia;

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

Secretary-General’s Report

When it met this morning, the Security Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General concerning the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia (document S/2000/697). In that report, he recommends that the Council extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a further six-month period until 31 January 2001.

According to the report, no major progress was achieved in the framework of the Geneva peace process during the reporting period, but the results of the Coordinating Council session held earlier in the month have opened the prospect for constructive engagement between the parties, especially on security matters.

However, there were still delays and, the report adds, although domestic considerations always place constraints on political leaders engaged in a conflict settlement process, no progress can be achieved without a demonstration of political will by both the Georgian and Abkhaz parties. The most critical element of the package is Abkhazia’s political status. Without that consideration, the entire process may be jeopardized. Therefore, both parties, particularly the Abkhaz side, must muster the political will to resolve the issue.

On 3 May, both sides demonstrated their readiness to agree on practical measures to improve the security situation on the ground, the report continues. However, the marked increase of organized criminality along the ceasefire line, and its impact on security conditions for returnees to the Gali district is particularly pernicious. Also, following two serious security incidents during the reporting period, the Georgian and Abkhaz sides must be reminded that the security of UNOMIG and civilian personnel is primarily their responsibility. Furthermore, the international community expects the Government of Georgia to bring to justice the perpetrators of the hostage-taking incident of June, and that it will allow UNOMIG to continue to carry out its mandate.

The report states that despite the slow progress, it is evident that the United Nations mission continues to play an essential role in the search for a peaceful solution to the Georgian Abkhaz conflict through its sustained efforts to further the peace process. Furthermore, the humanitarian situation for vulnerable persons is often severe and exacerbated by the decay of the region’s economic infrastructure. Through its monitoring presence on the ground, the Mission undoubtedly remains the central element in efforts to stabilize the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia.

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For information media. Not an official record.