UN regrets Russia’s veto on Georgia observer mission

WASHINGTON

Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General for Georgia has expressed regret over Russia’s decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution on prolonging the mandate of the UN observer mission in the region of Georgia and Abkhazia /UNOMIG/. 

The group that comprises the U.S., Britain, Germany and France said in a joint statement Tuesday the ceasing of UNOMIG’s operations along with the lifting of a similar mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe /OSCE/ meant a pullback of international efforts to settle the conflict in the Georgia-Abkhazia area.

The ‘friends’ urged all the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to observe the August 12, 2008, and September 8, 2008, ceasefire agreements.

They also called on all the participants in the “Geneva talks” – the consultations on ways of resolving the situation in South Caucasus – to continue a search for a political solution to the conflict and to alleviate the plight of refugees and displaced persons.

The ‘friends’ stressed their commitment to supporting Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

International news media earlier quoted the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin as saying there was no sense in extending UNOMIG’s mandate since it was built on old realities.

The current reality calls for a new security regime on the ground, Churkin said.

“Developing a new UN mission mandate would have allowed us to quickly put in place practical cooperation of all interested parties to strengthen security and to restore trust,” he said. “However, our Western partners did not accept this approach.”

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