UN-backed peace brokers in Georgian-Abkhaz conflict hold fresh talks

UN-backed peace brokers in Georgian-Abkhaz conflict hold fresh talks

Senior representatives of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General have held talks with the Georgian and Abkhaz sides amid concerns over tensions in their zone of conflict and the lack of recent dialogue between the two sides, the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) said in a press statement issued in Tbilisi today.

Senior representatives of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General have held talks with the Georgian and Abkhaz sides amid concerns over tensions in their zone of conflict and the lack of recent dialogue between the two sides, the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) said in a press statement issued in Tbilisi today.

The two-day talks in the German city of Bonn, which ended yesterday, were also convened to help promote confidence-building measures presented at the Group’s previous meeting, according to UNOMIG.

Aside from the Group of Friends (France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) and the Georgian and Abkhaz sides, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Georgia Jean Arnault also participated in the talks, which took place under the chairmanship of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

The UNOMIG statement noted that the Georgian and Abkhaz sides outlined their positions, which continue to differ on several issues, but were able to agree on some steps relating to security, dialogue and confidence-building in the zone of conflict.

“They also agreed to cooperate in implementing the European Commission-funded rehabilitation programme, as well as a number of humanitarian initiatives,” the statement said.

Both the UN and the Group of Friends stressed the importance of preserving stability and dialogue, “and encouraged the parties to seek vigorously the creation of basic levels of trust between the sides and their respective communities.”

UNOMIG was established in August 1993 to verify compliance with the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Georgia and the Abkhaz authorities in Georgia. Its mandate was expanded following the signing by the parties of the 1994 Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces.