Georgia: Personnel from defunct UN mission to leave next week

Military observers and police of what was the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) will leave Abkhazia at the end of next week, as the operation proceeds with its liquidation, the world body announced today. 

For nearly 16 years, UNOMIG was entrusted with overseeing the ceasefire accord between the Government and Abkhaz separatists in the country’s north-western region.

It had no jurisdiction in nearby South Ossetia, the scene of fighting last August which pitted Georgia against separatists and their Russian allies.

UNOMIG ceased its functions on 16 June after Russia vetoed a technical roll-over by the Security Council of the mission’s mandate.

David Harland, a senior official with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), met with Abkhaz officials yesterday on the closure. He noted that the Mission had very constructive relations both with the local authorities and the public.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Harland echoed recent comments by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in hoping that the UN would have an opportunity to keep offering assistance and support for the population through different humanitarian programmes.

As of 30 April this year, UNOMIG comprised almost 130 military observers and 16 police personnel, and was led by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Johan Verbeke.

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