The Security Council failed today to extend the presence of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) after Russia vetoed a technical roll-over for the nearly 16-year-old operation.
China, Libya, Uganda and Viet Nam abstained on the vote on the text, which would have extended the Mission " entrusted with overseeing the ceasefire accord between the Government and Abkhaz separatists in the country`s north-western region " for two more weeks, until 30 June. Its mandate expires at midnight Monday.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will instruct his Special Representative to take all measures required to cease UNOMIG`s operations, effective 16 June, and consult with his advisors on the immediate next steps, according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
The Secretary-General regrets that the Security Council has been unable to reach agreement on the basis of a package of practical and realistic proposals he submitted to the Security Council aimed at contributing to a stabilization of the situation on the ground, the statement said.
Explaining Russia`s negative vote, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin noted that UNOMIG`s mandate had already been rolled over twice for four-month periods, in October 2008 and more recently in February 2009.
There`s no sense in extending it since it`s built on old realities, said Mr. Churkin, adding that the current reality calls for a new security regime on the ground.
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 " However, our Western partners did not accept this approach.
The draft resolution put forward in the Council was clearly unacceptable, he stated.
In his recent report to the Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that the Mission has contributed to the overall security of the local population, while cautioning that an agreement on a revised security regime is needed for lasting stability.
UNOMIG`s area of responsibility in Abkhazia consists of a security zone, where no military presence is permitted; a restricted weapons zone, where no heavy weapons can be introduced; and the Kodori Valley.
It has no jurisdiction in nearby South Ossetia, the scene of fighting last August which pitted Georgia against separatists and their Russian allies.