Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in Georgia 6 more months
The United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for another six months, until 31 January 2004, and endorsed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recommendation to add a civilian police component to strengthen its capacity.
The Council’s unanimous decision to extend the Mission’s mandate welcomes the important contributions made by UNOMIG and the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in stabilizing the situation in the zone of conflict, and stresses its attachment to the close cooperation existing between them in the performance of their respective mandates.
The text also endorsed the recommendation contained in the Secretary-General’s recent report to add a civilian police component of 20 officers to the Mission to strengthen its capacity to carry out its mandate and to contribute to the creation of conditions conducive to the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees.
Mr. Annan’s report lamented that the core political issue to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict – the future status of Abkhazia – had not yet been addressed despite the opportunities provide by interested parties. And while he noted that the parties moved ahead on economic cooperation and refugee return, he appealed to both sides to muster the will to address the political aspects of the conflict.
Similarly, the Council today stressed its strong support for the document on “Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competences between Tbilisi and Sukhumi” and for its letter of transmittal, but deeply regretted the continued refusal of the Abkhaz side to agree to a discussion on the substance of that document. The 15-member body strongly urged the Abkhaz side to receive the document and its transmittal letter.
Further, the Council also regretted the lack of progress on the initiation of political status negotiations, and called again on the parties to ensure the necessary revitalization of the peace process in all its major aspects.
The Council also strongly condemned the abduction of four UNOMIG personnel on 5 June – the sixth hostage taking since the Mission was established in 1993 – and deeply deplored that none of the perpetrators had ever been identified or brought to justice.