SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2003

29 July 2002
SC/7470

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2003

29/07/2002
Press ReleaseSC/7470

Security Council

4591st Meeting* (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 31 JANUARY 2003

The Security Council, stressing that the continued lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, was unacceptable, decided this morning to extend the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 January 2003.

By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1427 (2002), the Council condemned any violations of the provisions of the Moscow Agreement of 14 May 1994 on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces, and demanded that they cease immediately.

In a related provision, the Council strongly urged the parties to ensure the necessary revitalization of the peace process, in all its major aspects, while it underlined further that the process of negotiation leading to a lasting peace would require concessions from both sides.  The Council called on the parties to spare no efforts to overcome their ongoing mutual mistrust.

Further by the text, the Council welcomed the important contributions made by UNOMIG and the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS peacekeeping force) in stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict, and called on the Georgian side to continue to improve security for joint UNOMIG and CIS peacekeeping for patrols in the Kodori Valley to enable them to monitor the situation independently and regularly.

The Council called on both sides publicly to dissociate themselves from militant rhetoric and demonstrations of support for military options and for the activities of illegal armed groups, and reminded the Georgian side in particular to uphold its commitment to put an end to the activities of such groups.

Council members also reaffirmed the inalienable right of refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes in secure conditions, as set out in the Quadripartite Agreement of 4 April 1994 (S/1994/397, annex II), and stressed the urgent need for progress on the question of refugees and internally displaced persons.

The meeting began at 12:33 p.m. and adjourned at 12:35 p.m.

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*     4590th Meeting was closed.

Resolution

The following is the full text of Council resolution 1427 (2002):

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1393 (2002) of 31 January 2002,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 July 2002 (S/2002/742),

"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,

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

"Recalling its condemnation of the shooting down of a helicopter of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) on 8 October 2001, which resulted in the death of the nine people on board, and deploring the fact that the perpetrators of that attack have still not been identified,

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

"Welcoming the important contributions made by UNOMIG and the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS peacekeeping force) in stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict, and stressing its attachment to the close cooperation existing between them in the performance of their respective mandates,

"Welcoming also the agreement on the extension of the mandate of the CIS peacekeeping force for a new period terminating on 31 December 2002;

"1.      Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 10 July 2002 (S/2002/742);

"2.      Commends and 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 must include a settlement of the political status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia;

"3.      Recalls, in particular, its support for the document on “Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi” and for its letter of transmittal, finalized by, and with the full support of, all members of the Group of Friends;

"4.      Regrets the lack of progress on the initiation of political status negotiations, and recalls, once again, that the purpose of these documents is to facilitate meaningful negotiations between the parties, under the leadership of the United Nations, on the status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia, and is not an attempt to impose or dictate any specific solution to the parties;

"5.      Underlines further that the process of negotiation leading to a lasting political settlement acceptable to both sides will require concessions from both sides;

"6.      Deeply regrets, in particular, the repeated refusal of the Abkhaz side to agree to a discussion on the substance of this document, again strongly urges the Abkhaz side to receive the document and its transmittal letter, urges both parties thereafter to give them full and open consideration, and to engage in constructive negotiations on their substance, and urges those having influence with the parties to promote this outcome;

"7.      Calls on the parties to spare no efforts to overcome their ongoing mutual mistrust;

"8.      Condemns any violations of the provisions of the Moscow Agreement of 14 May 1994 on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces (S/1994/583, annex I), and demands that they cease immediately;

"9.      Welcomes the decrease of tensions in the Kodori Valley and the intention reaffirmed by the parties to resolve the situation peacefully, recalls its strong support to the protocol signed by the two sides on 2 April 2002 regarding the situation in the Kodori Valley, calls on both sides, and in particular the Georgian side, to continue to fully implement this protocol, and recognizes the legitimate security concerns of the civilian populations in the area, calls on the political leaders in Tbilisi and Sukhumi to observe security agreements, and calls on both sides to spare no efforts to agree a mutually acceptable arrangement for security of the population in, and in the vicinity of, the Kodori Valley;

"10.      Calls on the Georgian side to continue to improve security for joint UNOMIG and CIS peacekeeping force patrols in the Kodori Valley to enable them to monitor the situation independently and regularly;

"11.      Strongly urges the parties to ensure the necessary revitalization of the peace process in all its major aspects, to resume their work in the Coordinating Council and its relevant mechanisms, to build on the results of the Yalta meeting on confidence-building measures in March 2001 (S/2001/242), and to implement the proposals agreed on that occasion in a purposeful and cooperative manner;

"12.      Stresses the urgent need for progress on the question of the refugees and internally displaced persons, calls on both sides to display a genuine commitment to make returns the focus of special attention and to undertake this task in close coordination with UNOMIG, reaffirms the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict, reaffirms also the inalienable right of all refugees and internally 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 the Yalta Declaration, recalls that the Abkhaz side bears a particular responsibility to protect the returnees and to facilitate the return of the remaining displaced population, and requests further measures to be undertaken inter alia by the United Nations Development Programme, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to create conditions conducive to the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, including through quick-impact projects, to develop their skills and to increase their self-reliance, with full respect for their inalienable right to return to their homes in secure and dignified conditions;

"13.      Urges once again the parties to implement the recommendations of the joint assessment mission to the Gali district, carried out under the aegis of the United Nations, welcomes the agreement of the parties in this regard to explore the possibility of enhancing support for local law enforcement agencies, and calls in particular on the Abkhaz side to improve law enforcement involving the local population and to address the lack of instruction in their mother tongue for the ethnic Georgian population;

"14.      Calls on both parties publicly to dissociate themselves from militant rhetoric and demonstrations of support for military options and for the activities of illegal armed groups, and reminds the Georgian side in particular to uphold its commitment to put an end to the activities of illegal armed groups;

"15.      Calls, once again, on the parties to take all necessary steps to identify those responsible for the shooting down of a UNOMIG helicopter on 8 October 2001 and to bring them to justice and underlines that it is the primary responsibility of both sides to provide appropriate security and to ensure the freedom of movement of UNOMIG, the CIS peacekeeping force and other international personnel;

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

"17.      Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 31 January 2003;

"18.      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;

"19.      Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

Background

The Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/2002/742) on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, covering the period from

19 April until 10 July.

The report notes a regrettable lack of progress in negotiations between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides on the future status of Abkhazia.  Concerted efforts by

the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, supported by the Group of Friends, will continue on that key issue.

Tensions in the Kodori Valley have decreased, but the potential for a new flare-up of hostilities continues to exist.  The report urges the two sides to spare no efforts in working out a mutually acceptable arrangement for the security of the population, so as not to play into the hands of those who seek to slow down the political process.

The standstill in implementing the Quadripartite Agreement of 4 April 1994 on the return of internally displaced persons remains, although an increasing number of returnees have tried to rebuild their lives in the Gali district.  One way of tackling the precarious security situation in the Gali district, which impedes returns, would be international support to strengthen local law enforcement agencies, the report recommends.

The UNOMIG has continued its observations, by carrying out two patrols in the Zugdidi sector and three patrols in the Gali sector each day.  It also performs a two- to three-day patrol jointly with the CIS peacekeeping force to the Kodori Valley about every two weeks.

The patrols have been a valuable confidence-building measure and a step towards eventual independent monitoring, once the security situation allows, the report states.  Patrolling by helicopter has remained suspended for security reasons, although administrative flights have continued on a route over the Black Sea.

The report recommends that both the Georgian and Abkhaz sides safeguard UNOMIG personnel and ensure that the Mission’s air and road movements are not restricted.  It notes that the technical investigation into the shooting down of a United Nations helicopter on 8 October 2001 has reached its final stages.

Noting that UNOMIG’s presence remains essential in creating conditions for a political process towards settlement of the conflict there, the report recommends that the Mission's mandate be extended for six months, until 31 January 2003.

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For information media. Not an official record.