Abkhazia Georgia Security Council urges steps to break impasse extends UN mission

Acting unanimously, the Council adopted a resolution which blamed the deterioration on “ongoing violence, hostage-taking incidents, the rise in criminality and the activities of illegal armed groups in the conflict zone, which constitutes a constant threat to the peace process.”In renewing UNOMIG’s mandate, the Council expressed its intention to conduct a thorough review of the operation at the end of the extension, “in the light of steps taken by the parties to achieve a comprehensive settlement.” The Council expressed strong support for the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his Special Representative, Dieter Boden, with the assistance of the Russian Federation, to stabilize the situation and achieve a comprehensive political settlement, including a settlement of the political status of Abkhazia within Georgia.The Council also recalled the Special Representative’s intention to submit a draft paper on the distribution of constitutional competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi “as a basis for meaningful negotiations, and not as an attempt to impose or dictate any specific solution to the parties.” The Council expressed deep regret the Special Representative has not been in a position to submit the paper to the parties, stressing that it would serve as a starting point for negotiations on a comprehensive political settlement.The resolution also stressed the need to accelerate work on the draft protocol on the return of the refugees to the Gali region and measures for economic rehabilitation, as well as on the draft agreement on peace and guarantees for the prevention and for the non-resumption of hostilities.The parties, particularly the Abkhaz side, were called upon to move beyond the impasse and engage in negotiations on the core political questions of the conflict and all other outstanding issues in the UN-led peace process. The Council also urged the parties to work together in order to clarify recent kidnapping incidents, secure the release of the remaining hostages, and bring the perpetrators to justice.The Council also expressed concern at the “disturbing tendency” by the parties to restrict the freedom of movement of UNOMIG, and called upon both sides to ensure the security and freedom of movement of UN and other international personnel. read more