|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5661st Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UNITED NATIONS OBSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA
UNTIL 15 OCTOBER, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1752 (2007)
Welcomes Progress, But Stresses Need for Improvement
In Areas of Security, Return of Displaced Persons, Development
The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), which was to expire on 15 April, until 15 October.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1752 (2007), the Council, welcoming progress achieved by both sides towards the implementation of resolution 1716 (2006), called on the Georgian side to ensure that the situation in the upper Kodori valley was in line with the Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994. It called on the Abkhaz side to exercise restraint in connection with the Georgian commitments with regard to the Kodori valley.
The Council condemned the attack on villages in the upper Kodori valley carried out in the night of 11 and 12 March, and urged all sides to extend full support to the ongoing investigation conducted by the joint fact finding group under leadership of UNOMIG.
Stressing that the situation on the ground in the areas of security, return of internally displaced persons, rehabilitation and development must be improved, the Council called on both sides to resume dialogue without preconditions in those areas. It urged the sides to address seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns, to refrain from any actions that might impede the peace process and to extend the necessary cooperation to UNOMIG and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force.
The Council further urged both parties to immediately engage in implementing, without preconditions, confidence-building measures contained in the proposals presented by the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General during the meeting held in Geneva on 12 and 13 February, under participation of the Georgian and Abkhaz parties.
The meeting began at 10:17 a.m. and rose at 10:20 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1752 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions including resolution 1716 of 13 October 2006 (S/RES/1716);
“Welcoming the reports of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia of 11 January 2007 (S/2007/15) and 3 April 2007;
“Supporting the sustained efforts of the Secretary-General and of his Special Representative with the assistance of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General, as well as the Russian Federation in its capacity as facilitator and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE);
“Stressing the importance of close and effective cooperation between UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force as they currently play an important stabilizing role in the conflict zone, and recalling that a lasting and comprehensive settlement of the conflict will require appropriate security guarantees;
“Stressing that economic development is urgently required in Abkhazia, Georgia to improve the livelihoods of the communities affected by the conflict, in particular the refugees and internally displaced persons;
“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. Calls on both sides to resume dialogue, make full use of all existing mechanisms as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, to comply fully with previous agreements regarding ceasefire and non-use of violence, and to finalize without delay the package of documents on the non-use of violence and on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons;
“3. 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;
“4. Endorses the proposals for confidence-building measures presented by the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General during the meeting held in Geneva on 12 and 13 February 2007 under participation of the Georgian and Abkhaz parties, and urges both parties with the assistance of UNOMIG and of international partners and the support of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General to immediately engage in implementing these measures without conditions;
“5. Welcomes progress achieved by both sides towards the implementation of resolution 1716 (2006), calls on the Georgian side to ensure that the situation in the upper Kodori valley is in line with the Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994; and calls on the Abkhaz side to exercise restraint in connection with the Georgian commitments with regard to the Kodori valley;
“6. Condemns the attack on villages in the upper Kodori valley carried out in the night of 11 and 12 March 2007 and urges all sides to extend full support to the ongoing investigation conducted by the Joint Fact Finding Group under the leadership of UNOMIG;
“7. Stresses that the situation on the ground in the areas of security, return of internally displaced persons and rehabilitation and development must be improved and calls on both sides to resume dialogue without preconditions in these areas, using all existing mechanisms, including Quadripartite meetings;
“8. Urges the sides to address seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns, to refrain from any actions which might impede the peace process, and to extend the necessary cooperation to UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force;
“9. Stresses the urgent need to alleviate the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons and the need for a perspective of life in security and dignity in particular for a new generation growing up outside Abkhazia, Georgia, and recalling the right of return for all internally displaced persons to Abkhazia, Georgia, calls on both sides to implement the UNHCR’s Strategic Directions for the return in the first instance to the Gali region;
“10. Welcomes existing and encourages further contacts between representatives of civil society of the sides;
“11. 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;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance of all UNOMIG personnel with the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to ensure that acts involving their personnel are properly investigated and punished;
“13. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 15 October 2007;
“14. Requests the Secretary-General to make use of this extended mandate in order to support the parties in implementing measures to build confidence and to establish an intensive and meaningful dialogue, and to inform the Council in his next report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, on progress made in this respect;
“15. 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;
“16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The Council had before it the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia (document S/2007/182), which provides an update on developments there since his report of 11 January 2007 (document S/2007/15). It contains his recommendation for a six-month mandate extension for the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 15 October 2007.
Expressing his continuing belief that the Mission’s presence contributes to security in the conflict zone and to international efforts for the promotion of political dialogue between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides, the Secretary-General welcomes the progress made towards implementation of Security Council resolution 1716 (2006), and notes with satisfaction that no heavy weapons were observed in the Kodori valley –- jointly patrolled by UNOMIG and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force -- and that the number of armed personnel has decreased in comparison with the situation observed last October.
The Secretary-General also welcomes the expansion of UNOMIG assistance to the Gali district in terms of both the activities of the United Nations police advisers and the full-time presence there of the Human Rights Office in Abkhazia, Georgia. Hopefully, the appointment of a presidential commissioner for human rights by the de facto Abkhaz authorities will enable them to better address human rights issues raised by the Mission and local non-governmental organizations. It is to be hoped also that each side will value the steps taken by the other and take further measures to improve the confidence between them.
Against this positive background, however, the events of 11 March in the upper Kodori valley were a major setback, the report says. While causing no casualty, the incident offered a reminder of the risks with which the conflict is still fraught and the potential for existing tensions to take a violent course. After the October 2006 incident, in which three surface-to-surface missiles landed in the upper Kodori valley, this new development highlights the need for the parties and the international community to approach the situation in the Kodori valley also in terms of prevention. Indeed, the valley will most likely remain vulnerable to further incidents if no measures are taken, a question to be partially addressed by the planned reactivation of the UNOMIG team base at Adjara in the upper Kodori valley.
While the Kodori valley has been the scene of the most dramatic development during the reporting period, the Secretary-General regretfully notes that the situation along the ceasefire line has remained tense since his previous report to the Council. Cooperation between the two sides on security issues and combating crime is almost non-existent, in contrast to the situation during the same period last year. At a meeting held in Geneva on 13 and 14 February, both sides acknowledged the deteriorating situation along the ceasefire line and expressed their readiness to redress it.
The Secretary-General reminds both sides that they have expressed their support for the return of internally displaced persons, in the first instance to the Gali district, and the implementation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ plan to that effect. However, the further return of internally displaced persons and an improvement in the situation of Gali residents will only become a realistic prospect if the ceasefire line becomes an area of genuine cooperation rather than confrontation.
Recalling that both sides reaffirmed in Geneva their support for dialogue, including at the highest level, the Secretary-General points out that the provisions of resolution 1716 (2006) remain unimplemented in this area. Unilateral confidence-building measures by both sides, while still necessary, are not sufficient. Direct negotiation is irreplaceable in addressing security matters, rehabilitation and economic cooperation, and the larger issues relating to a political settlement.
The report covers the political process; developments in the Mission’s area of responsibility; cooperation with the CIS collective peacekeeping forces; human rights issues; humanitarian and human rights activities; support issues; and financial aspects.
* *** *