On April 13, 2007 the UN Security Council adopted its Resolution extending the mandate of the UN Observers Mission in Georgia for a new period terminating on October 15, 2007.
In this Resolution, the UN Security Council strongly and unequivocally reaffirms the commitment of all Member States to the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. At the same time, the Resolution indicates clearly that a comprehensive political resolution of the conflict is only possible through the principles contained in the "Paper on Basic Principles for the Distribution of Competencies between Tbilisi and Sukhumi”, so-called "Boden Document” defining the status of Abkhazia within the State of Georgia, that is an issue of principal priority to the Georgian side.
The document in question gives a positive assessment to the measures implemented by the Georgian side to insure compliance with the provisions of previous resolutions. The Security Council Resolution, as well as the UN Secretary-General’s reports dated January 11 and April 3, 2007 and the UNOMIG’s reports released during the reporting period confirm clearly that the Georgian side continues to comply fully and consistently with the above-referenced resolutions, including the obligations imposed on it under Resolution N1716.
In the Resolution under consideration, the UN Security Council shared the Georgia’s initiative on the necessity to resume a direct dialogue without preconditions and relevant meetings between the parties in the context of peaceful resolution of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia.
Unlike the Security Council’s previous Resolution, the document under review gives an adequate assessment to the situation in Upper Abkhazia (Kodori Valley). The UN Security Council condemns the attack on villages in Upper Abkhazia carried out on March 11 and 12, 2007 and assesses it as a provocative act. At the same time, the Security Council calls on the Abkhazian side to refrain from any action directed against the positive steps taken by the Georgian side in Upper Abkhazia.
Fully sharing the respective provision of the Resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia urges once again the UNOMIG-led Joint Fact Finding Group to bring to completion in the shortest terms the investigation of the shelling in Upper Abkhazia and publish its conclusions concerning the incident. Organizers of this provocation must not only be severely denounced but held responsible as well. Whoever planned and ordered the helicopter attack should be made aware that the international community condemns and is not going to tolerate such acts.
It is of great importance that the Resolution underlines the necessity of safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons expelled from Abkhazia as a result of ethnic cleansing. Moreover, it is for the first time that the Security Council’s Resolution emphasizes the right of return not only for all internally displaced persons leaving their homes in the region but "for a new generation growing up outside Abkhazia, Georgia” as well. It is an objective approach and a fair demand.
Regrettably, it also needs to be stressed that Georgia appears to be the only party to the conflict complying with the provisions of the resolutions adopted. Despite the Security Council’s repeated calls to the Abkhazian side to insure safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons, separatists continue to show extreme reluctance to fulfil their obligations. The need to deploy UNOMIG police component and set up a branch of the UN/OSCE Human Rights Office in the Gali district remains still unmet. This need becomes even more urgent given the heavy criminal situation and an increasing number of human rights violations that continue to happen in the Gali district.
It is with a deep sense of gratitude we would like to refer to the efforts of the UN Secretary General’s Group of Friends and the UNOMIG contributing their own share to further development of the peace process. At the same time, the Georgian side maintains that the UNOMIG’s potentiality allows even more to be done. The Mission needs to make its activity more active and result-oriented. It is our strong belief that the major task of the UNOMIG, rather than acting as a passive observer and maintaining the status quo, is to contribute actively to a full-scale peaceful resolution of the conflict.
While adopting the next resolution of the UN Security Council on Abkhazia, Georgia, the Georgian side calls upon the UN Secretary Generals’ Group of Friends to draw up a concrete result-oriented action plan to ensure safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the entire territory of Abkhazia. At the same time, they should be given guarantees that their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to property, will be fully protected. This needs to become the focus of our joint efforts during the next 6 months.
The Georgian side underlines that the existence of dividing lines between the parties to the conflict is and cannot be in its interests. On the contrary, we all need a fair and full-scale settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia based on the principles of international law. It calls for the engagement in the peace process of all the forces interested in working out a viable solution with due regard for the need to observe the principle of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to guarantee individual and collective rights and legitimate interests of the whole population of Abkhazia.
April 13, 2007
Press and Information Department