|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5549th Meeting* (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS GEORGIA MISSION UNTIL 15 APRIL 2007,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1716 (2006)
Urging both parties in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict to act to reduce renewed tensions in the region, the Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 15 April 2007.
By the unanimous adoption of resolution 1716 (2006), the Council, acknowledging that the “new and tense situation” resulted, at least in part, from the Georgian special operation in the upper Kodori Valley, urged the country to ensure that no troops unauthorized by the Moscow ceasefire agreement were present in that area.
It urged the leadership of the Abkhaz side to facilitate the dignified, secure return of refugees and internally displaced persons and to reassure the local population in the Gali district that their residency rights and identity will be respected.
Calling on both parties to follow up on dialogue initiatives, it further urged them to comply fully with all previous agreements regarding non-violence and confidence-building, in particular those concerning the separation of forces.
Regarding the disputed role of the peacekeepers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Council stressed the importance of close, effective cooperation between UNOMIG and that force and looked to all sides to continue to extend the necessary cooperation to them.
The Council meeting began at 10:28 a.m. and ended at 10:31 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1716 (2006) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 1666 of 31 March 2006 (S/RES/1666),
“Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) of 28 September 2006,
“Supporting the sustained efforts of the Secretary-General and of 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 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
“Regretting the continued lack of progress on key issues of a comprehensive settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict,
“Acknowledging with concern the observation of the Secretary-General that a new and tense situation has emerged between the Georgian and the Abkhaz sides, in particular as a result of the Georgian special operation in the upper Kodori Valley,
“1. Reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, and supports all efforts by the United Nations and the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General which are guided by their determination to promote a settlement of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict only by peaceful means and within the framework of the Security Council resolutions;
“2. Recalls, with a view to achieving a lasting and comprehensive settlement, its support for the principles contained in the “Paper on Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competencies between Tbilisi and Sukhumi” and welcomes additional ideas that the sides would be willing to offer with a view to conducting creatively and constructively a political dialogue under the aegis of the United Nations;
“3. Having in mind the relevant Security Council resolutions containing an appeal to both sides to refrain from any action that might impede the peace process, expresses its concern with regard to the actions of the Georgian side in the Kodori Valley in July 2006, and to all violations of the Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994, and other Georgian-Abkhaz agreements concerning the Kodori Valley;
“4. Urges the Georgian side to ensure that the situation in the upper Kodori Valley is in line with the Moscow agreement and that no troops unauthorized by this agreement are present;
“5. Notes with satisfaction the resumption of joint patrols in the upper Kodori Valley by UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force and reaffirms that such joint patrols should be conducted on a regular basis;
“6. Urges both parties to comply fully with previous agreements and understandings regarding ceasefire, non-use of violence and confidence-building measures, and stresses the need to strictly observe the Moscow Agreement on Ceasefire and the Separation of Forces in the air, on the sea and on land, including in the Kodori Valley
“7. Acknowledges the important role of the CIS peacekeeping force and of UNOMIG in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone, stresses the importance of close and effective cooperation between UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force as they currently play a stabilizing role in the conflict zone, looks to all sides to continue to extend the necessary cooperation to them and recalls that a lasting and comprehensive settlement of the conflict will require appropriate security guarantees;
“8. Once again urges the Georgian side to address seriously legitimate Abkhaz security concerns, to avoid steps which could be seen as threatening and to refrain from militant rhetoric and provocative actions, especially in upper Kodori Valley;
“9. Urges the Abkhaz leadership to address seriously the need for a dignified return of IDPs and refugees, including their security and human rights concerns, publicly reassure the local population, particularly in the Gali district, that their residency rights and identity will be respected, and move without delay on implementing past commitments relating to United Nations police advisers, a United Nations human rights sub-office and the language of instruction;
“10. Urges both parties to finalize without delay the package of documents on the non-use of violence and on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons for the Gali district and to undertake necessary steps to secure the protection and dignity of the civilian population including the returnees;
“11. Commends the presentation by both sides of ideas as a basis for dialogue and calls on the two sides to resume this dialogue by using all existing mechanisms as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions in order to come to a peaceful settlement;
“12. Calls on both parties to follow up on their expressed readiness for a meeting of their highest authorities without preconditions and to maintain open channels of communication to build confidence, and encourages further contacts between representatives of civil society;
“13. Calls on the Secretary-General to explore with the sides ways and means to build confidence, in particular by improving welfare and security of the inhabitants of Gali and Zugdidi districts;
“14. Supports all efforts by the Georgian and Abkhaz sides to engage constructively in economic cooperation as envisaged in the Geneva meetings and complemented by the working groups established in Sotchi in March 2003, including, security conditions permitting, the rehabilitation of infrastructure, and welcomes the intention expressed by Germany to host a meeting on economic cooperation and confidence-building measures, pending progress in the conflict resolution process;
“15. 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 and calls on both sides to fulfil their obligations in this regard;
“16. Welcomes the efforts being undertaken by UNOMIG to implement the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct, requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary action in this regard and to keep the Security Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including the conduct of predeployment awareness training, and to take disciplinary action and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“17. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 15 April 2007;
“18. Requests the Secretary-General to include detailed information on developments in the Kodori Valley and on the progress on efforts for return of refugees and IDPs particularly to the Gali district into his next report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia;
“19. Strongly supports the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and calls on the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General to continue giving him their steadfast and unified support;
“20. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, which discusses new tensions in the long-running dispute between Georgian authorities and Abkhaz separatists, and reviews the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in the country.
The Secretary-General says that the new tensions stemmed in part from an operation by Georgian special forces in the Kodori Valley on 25 July, after which the Abkhaz side questioned the usefulness of attempting to reach further agreements in the framework of the settlement process.
The report notes that the Government of Georgia has made it known that it considered the current settlement process ineffective and has called urgently for its restructuring around the principles of direct dialogue between the two sides and greater international involvement.
In the report, the Secretary-General urges dialogue between the two sides, which fought each other 14 years ago, adding that a resumption of violence would be the worst possible outcome. He also urges both sides to strictly observe the Moscow agreement that ended the fighting, particularly the provisions on transparency in movement of armed forces, maintenance of communication channels and monitoring of the Kodori Valley.
Citing the increased tension in the region, he recommends that UNOMIG’s mandate be extended for another six months beyond its current deadline of 15 October.
The conflict in Abkhazia, strategically located on the Black Sea, began with social unrest and attempts by the local authorities to separate from the Republic of Georgia. It escalated into a series of armed confrontations in the summer of 1992. A ceasefire agreement was concluded later that year, but was never fully implemented and the fighting that followed forced nearly 300,000 refugees to flee their homes.
UNOMIG was set up in August 1993 and currently has 121 military observers and 12 civilian police officers.
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* The 5547th & 5548th Meetings were closed.