|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5759th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS 0BSERVER MISSION IN GEORGIA UNTIL 15 APRIL 2008,
UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1781 (2007)
Noting with serious concern all recent armed incidents that had afflicted the conflict resolution process in Georgia, the Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), which was to expire today, until 15 April 2008.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1781 (2007), the Council called upon the parties to cooperate fully with the Mission and deemed it necessary to strengthen its observation capacity, such as the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and artillery radar, as recommended in the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2007/588).
The Council called on the Georgian side to ensure that the situation in the upper Kodori valley was in line with the 1994 Moscow agreement on ceasefire and separation of forces, and on the Abkhaz side to exercise restraint in connection with the Georgian commitments with regard to the Kodori valley. It expressed serious concern over the incidents that had taken place within and outside the zone of conflict, including those on 11 March and 20 September.
The Council strongly urged 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 -- and to comply fully with previous agreements regarding ceasefire and non-use of violence. Urging the continued active engagement of both sides within the Joint Fact-Finding Group, it endorsed the recommendations made by UNOMIG in the Group’s report on the rocket-firing incident in the upper Kodori valley on 11 March.
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. It also reiterated that individual property rights had not been affected by the fact that owners had had to flee during the conflict.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and adjourned at 10:20 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1781 (2007) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions including resolution 1752 of 13 April 2007 (S/RES/1752),
“Welcoming the reports of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) of 18 July 2007 (S/2007/439) and 4 October 2007 (S/2007/588),
“Noting with serious concern all recent armed incidents that have afflicted the conflict resolution process in Georgia, deploring in particular those in which lives were lost, and 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 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), underlining the increased importance of the meetings in the Geneva format as the forum for meaningful political dialogue,
“Stressing the importance of close and effective cooperation between UNOMIG and the Commonwealth of Independent States (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,
“Regretting the continued lack of trust between the two sides, and underlining the importance of constructive goodwill and respect for each other’s concerns,
“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, calls upon the parties to cooperate fully with the mission, deems it necessary to strengthen the mission’s observation capacity as recommended by UNOMIG in the “Joint Fact-Finding Group Report on The Rocket-Firing Incident in the upper Kodori valley on 11 March 2007”, as well as in the Secretary-General’s report S/2007/588 of 4 October 2007, and requests the Secretary-General to continue to explore options for the implementation of those recommendations and to inform the Council on progress;
“3. 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;
“4. Expresses its serious concern with the ongoing numerous violations of the ceasefire and separation of forces regime in the zone of conflict;
“5. Expresses serious concern over the incidents that have taken place within and outside the zone of conflict, as observed by UNOMIG and reflected in the reports of the Secretary-General of 18 July and 4 October 2007, including those on 11 March 2007 and 20 September 2007;
“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, and to comply fully with previous agreements regarding ceasefire and non-use of violence;
“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. Urges the continued active engagement of both sides within the Joint Fact-Finding Group and, in this context, expressing its support for the “Joint Fact-Finding Group Report on The Rocket-Firing Incident in the upper Kodori valley on 11 March 2007”, and endorses the recommendations made by UNOMIG in the report;
“9. Welcomes the commitment given by both sides during the meeting chaired by the United Nations in Bonn on 27 and 28 June 2007 to resume regular consultations within the quadripartite meetings, and urges both sides to finally fulfil this commitment;
“10. Calls upon the parties to further 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, including the safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons;
“11. Renews its support for confidence-building measures proposed by the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General and endorsed through resolution 1752 of 13 April 2007, and, in the conviction that they will serve the development of broader and unbiased contacts between the communities of the divided country, urges 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 the deployment of UNOMIG police in Gali and the cooperation of the Abkhaz side, and calls for a further deepening of this cooperation;
“14. 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;
“15. 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;
“16. Welcomes existing and encourages further contacts between representatives of civil society, and appeals to both sides to promote without reservation the active engagement of citizens and officials in such contacts;
“17. 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;
“18. 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;
“19. Decides to extend the mandate of UNOMIG for a new period terminating on 15 April 2008;
“20. Requests the Secretary-General to make use of this mandate in order to 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;
“21. 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;
“22. 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 describes developments in that area since the report of 18 July 2007 and recommends that the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) be extended for six months, until 15 April 2008.
In the report, the Secretary-General says that, despite the relative calm in the “zone of conflict” during the reporting period, the most serious clash in many years between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides took place on 20 September outside the area of responsibility of UNOMIG and the peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In the incident, seven Abkhaz personnel were apprehended by the Georgian side, one was wounded and two former Russian officers -– reportedly on contract with the Abkhaz side -– were killed. A UNOMIG fact-finding team has not yet completed its investigation.
In light of the incident, the Secretary-General recalls the recommendation that areas currently not under the Mission’s purview be brought under international monitoring. He expresses hope that this and other recommendations can be implemented, including the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and artillery radar.
In the report, the Secretary-General also stresses the need to prevent the weakening of the ceasefire and the separation of forces regime. In that respect, he expresses concern over the suspension of meetings between the two sides, UNOMIG and the CIS force, and the absence of a security dialogue at the operational level. Disagreements on the location and status of the CIS force and interpretations of the Moscow agreement must be addressed through dialogue and settled in a way that protects the ceasefire regime.
Political contact between the two sides also remains disappointing, he says. He welcomes the Joint Fact-Finding Group’s investigation into the disappearance of a district electoral official, David Sigua, and the resumption of the dialogue on humanitarian and rehabilitation issues. Such dialogue is overshadowed, however, by other developments that generate mistrust. The United Nations approach, which prioritizes confidence-building, is not a way to elude political issues, but is meant to make their resolution possible, he stresses. The alternative is further confrontation.
UNOMIG’s strength, as of 1 October 2007, stands at 133 military observers and 19 police officers, according to the report.
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