1 February 2006

Security Council Extends UN Mission in Georgia until 31 March, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1656 (2006)

NEW YORK, 31 January (UN Headquarters) -- In a unanimous vote this afternoon, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 March 2006 by adopting resolution 1656 (2006).

The meeting began at 12:10 p.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1656 (2006) reads, as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its relevant resolutions on the issue and in particular resolution 1615 (2005) of 29 July 2005,

"Taking note of the scheduled meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Georgia in Geneva on 2 and 3 February 2006,

"1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 March 2006;

"2. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."


Before the Council was the Secretary-General's report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia (document S/2006/19), dated 13 January 2006 and covering the period since his report of 19 October 2005 (document S/2005/657).

The Secretary-General, stressing that the United Nations remains committed to assisting the Georgian and Abkhaz sides in the search for a peaceful and comprehensive settlement, notes that, in an encouraging development, both sides engaged constructively with the mediation of his Special Representative in exchanges on joint draft documents on the non-resumption of hostilities, as well as the safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

He calls on both sides to refrain from actions or statements that could damage emerging opportunities in the peace process.  The Georgian side is urged to take into due account the Abkhaz security concerns and the Abkhaz side effectively to meet the security and human rights concerns of the local population and returnees to the Gali district.

Stressing that the free movement of UNOMIG personnel in fulfilling their mandate is of continuing concern, the Secretary-General urges the two sides to ensure their safety at all times.  They are urged to identify and prosecute the perpetrators of criminal acts against Mission personnel, including the September 1998 ambush of a UNOMIG bus in Sukhumi, the October 2001 shooting down of a UNOMIG helicopter in the Kodori Valley, and various hostage-taking incidents.  Regular patrolling of the Kodori Valley remains an essential part of UNOMIG's mandate, and cooperation in security-related matters, including provision of effective security guarantees, is key for its resumption.

Expressing his conviction that UNOMIG's presence remains critical to maintaining stability on the ground, advancing the peace process in the priority directions, and ultimately promoting a peaceful and comprehensive settlement of the conflict, the Secretary-General recommends an extension of the Mission's mandate until 31 July 2006.

Besides the Secretary-General's observations and recommendations, the report also covers the political process, operational activities, policing issues, cooperation with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping forces, human rights and the humanitarian situation, support issues and financial aspects.

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