|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5866th Meeting* (PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF GEORGIA OBSERVER MISSION UNTIL 15 OCTOBER,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1808 (2008)
Extending for six months the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), the Security Council today called on both Georgia and Abkhazia to “consolidate and broaden” recent improvements in the overall security situation, and underlined the need for a period of sustained stability along the ceasefire line between the two sides and in the Kodori valley.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1808 (2008), the Security Council extended its 15-year-old monitoring mission in Georgia until 15 October 2008, and stressed the need to keep under close observation the situation in the upper Kodori valley, which must be in line with the Moscow agreement on the ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994.
Further by the text, the Council regretted the continued lack of progress in implementing confidence-building measures, and underlined the importance of constructive goodwill between the sides and respect for each other’s concerns. It strongly urged all parties to “consider and address seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns”, as well as to refrain from any acts of violence or provocation, including political action or rhetoric, and to maintain the security zone and the restricted weapons zone free of any unauthorized military activities.
The Council also called on both the Georgian and Abkhaz sides to “finalize without delay” the document on the non-use of violence, as well as the document on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. It further called on both parties to increase their bilateral contacts by making full use of all existing mechanisms, as described in relevant resolutions, in order to come to a peaceful settlement, and to commit to fulfil, within a reliable timeframe, the conditions necessary for the safe, dignified and swift return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The Council stressed anew 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. It reiterated as “fundamentally important” the right of return for all the refugees and internally displaced persons to Abkhazia, Georgia, and required that individual property rights had not been affected by the fact that owners had had to flee during the conflict.
The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and adjourned at 3:10 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1808 (2008) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions including resolution 1781 of 15 October 2007 (S/RES/1781),
“Welcoming the reports of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia of 23 January 2008 (S/2008/38) and 2 April 2008 (S/2008/219),
“Reiterating the importance of maintaining the separation of forces and the preservation of the ceasefire,
“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 OSCE, underlining the increased importance of the meetings in the Geneva format as the forum for meaningful political dialogue and welcoming the Georgian and Abkhaz renewed commitment to this process,
“Noting that whereas the United Nations and the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General will continue to support the process of conflict resolution between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides, the primary responsibility to make use of this support and to implement measures to advance the process, in particular measures to build confidence, remains with both sides,
“Regretting the continued lack of progress in implementing confidence-building measures, and underlining the importance of constructive goodwill between the sides and respect for each other’s concerns,
“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 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. Reaffirms its strong support for UNOMIG, and again urges the parties to cooperate fully with the mission and to actively and sustainably engage in the political process led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General; and welcomes UNOMIG’s continued consultations with the parties on strengthening its observation capacity;
“3. Welcomes the recent improvements in the overall security situation; calls on both sides to consolidate and broaden those improvements; underlines the need for a period of sustained stability along the ceasefire line and in the Kodori valley; and stresses the necessity to keep under close observation the situation in the upper Kodori valley which has to be in line with the Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces of 14 May 1994;
“4. Welcomes the renewed commitment given by both sides during the meeting chaired by the United Nations in Geneva on 18 and 19 February 2008 to resume regular consultations within the Quadripartite meetings on security issues without delay, and urges once more both sides to fulfil finally this commitment;
“5. Expresses its concern at any violation of the ceasefire and separation of forces regime in the Zone of Conflict;
“6. Strongly urges all parties to consider and address seriously each other’s legitimate security concerns, to refrain from any acts of violence or provocation, including political action or rhetoric, to comply fully with previous agreements regarding ceasefire and non-use of violence, and to maintain the security zone and the restricted weapons zone free of any unauthorized military activities; and in this regard recalls the recommendations of the Secretary-General contained in S/2007/439 and his subsequent reports;
“7. Calls on both sides to finalize without delay the document on the non-use of violence; and calls on both sides to finalize without delay the document on the return of refugees and internally displaced persons;
“8. Stresses anew 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;
“9. Reiterates and reaffirms as fundamentally important the right of return for all the refugees and the internally displaced persons to Abkhazia, Georgia, reaffirms the importance of such people’s return to their homes and property and that individual property rights have not been affected by the fact that owners had to flee during the conflict and that the residency rights and the identity of those owners will be respected, and calls on both sides to implement the UNHCR’s Strategic Directions for their return in the first instance to the Gali region;
“10. Calls upon the parties to increase their bilateral contacts by making full use of all existing mechanisms as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions in order to come to a peaceful settlement, and to commit themselves to fulfil within a reliable timeframe the conditions necessary for the safe, dignified and swift return of refugees and internally displaced persons;
“11. Firmly convinced that the confidence-building measures proposed by the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General and endorsed through resolution 1752 of 13 April 2007, will serve the development of broader and unbiased contacts between the communities of the divided country, regrets the lack of progress made with regard to confidence-building measures and urges again the Georgian and Abkhaz sides to implement these measures without conditions;
“12. 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;
“13. Welcomes existing and encourages further contacts between representatives of civil society, and appeals to both sides to continue to promote without reservation the active engagement of citizens and officials in such contacts;
“14. Underlines that it is the primary responsibility of both sides to provide appropriate security and to ensure the freedom of movement throughout the zone of conflict of UNOMIG, the CIS peacekeeping force and other international personnel and calls on both sides to fulfil their obligations in this regard and to extend full cooperation to UNOMIG and the CIS peacekeeping force;
“15. 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;
“16. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 15 October 2008;
“17. Requests the Secretary-General to make use of this mandate in order to encourage and support the parties in implementing measures to build confidence and to establish an intensive and meaningful dialogue, with a view to achieve a lasting and comprehensive settlement, including the facilitation of a meeting at the highest level, and to inform the Council in his next report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, on progress made in this respect;
“18. Strongly supports the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and encourages the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General to continue giving him their steadfast and unified support;
“19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
When the Council met this afternoon, it had before it the Secretary-General ’s report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia (document S/2008/219) of 28 March. It states that, during the last three months, the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) continued its efforts to prevent the escalation of tensions in the zone of conflict and facilitate resumption of dialogue between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides. The overall approach remains that a successful dialogue on security, return of internally displaced persons and refugees, economic rehabilitation and humanitarian issues would help to bring about a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict, taking into account the “Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi”, its transmittal letter and additional ideas by the sides.
The Secretary-General reports that his Special Representative continued to maintain regular contact with both sides, and with the Group of Friends, both in Tbilisi and in their capitals. Despite his efforts, the negotiations remained suspended, as the Abkhaz side continued to insist on the withdrawal of Georgian armed personnel from the upper Kodori valley as a precondition for the resumption of negotiations with the Georgian side.
Notwithstanding moments of tension between the two sides, relative stability in UNOMIG’s area of responsibility is a welcome development that contrasts favourably with the same period last year. The Secretary-General welcomes the dialogue between the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the CIS peacekeeping force and UNOMIG, which has been taking place regularly on the Zugdidi side of the ceasefire line. He hopes that this dialogue will soon be supplemented by the resumption of regular meetings on security issues involving the Georgian and Abkhaz sides.
According to the report, every effort must be made to ensure that this positive trend continues, as a period of sustained stability along the ceasefire line and in the Kodori valley would improve the prospect of repairing the much deteriorated relationship between the two sides. The United Nations continues to monitor and verify that the situation in the conflict zone is in compliance with relevant agreements and Council resolutions.
In this respect, steps proposed by the Group of Friends in 2007 and discussed again at the Geneva meeting on 18 and 19 February are particularly relevant, the Secretary-General writes, expressing regret that hardly any progress has been made so far in their implementation. Even small steps and partial successes are essential to the sustainability of the peace processes. During the Geneva meeting, a measure of common ground emerged in this respect, with both sides acknowledging the possibility of a gradual restoration of working relations between them across a range of issues. Implementation, as always, will be key. Members of the Group of Friends are ready to assist the sides in this regard, and the United Nations is willing to support them in making this approach work.
The difficulties with which the peace process is currently confronted, as well as the increasingly complex external environment, inevitably affect the role of UNOMIG. At the same time, as in the past, developments on the ground during the reporting period under review continued to highlight the importance of the presence of the Mission for promoting stability in the zone of conflict, practical cooperation between the sides and restoration of dialogue. The Secretary-General, therefore, recommends an extension of the mandate of UNOMIG for a further period of six months.
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