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Calls for political solution to Georgian-Abkhaz

Security Council renews call for political solution to Georgian-Abkhaz conflict

Fresh from a briefing by the top United Nations envoy for Georgia, the Security Council today renewed its call to the Georgian Government and Abkhaz separatists to reach a lasting political solution within the country's recognized borders to the decade-old conflict that uprooted nearly 300,000 refugees.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Heidi Tagliavini briefed the 15-member body on the latest report on the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), which remains vital in preventing a flare-up of hostilities due to the absence of dialogue between the parties, above all on the political issues.

The Abkhaz side has for the past several years refused to receive a paper on distributing "competences" between the two parties, invoking its unilateral "declaration of independence" of 1999.

"Members of the Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders," the Council President for January, Argentine Permanent Representative César Mayoral, said in a press statement.

"They underlined the need for renewed efforts to achieve a lasting political solution to the conflict based on relevant Security Council resolutions, and expressed their hope for an early resumption of the dialogue between the two sides in order, inter alia, to prevent instability and to build mutual confidence," the statement added.

In his report Mr. Annan recommended a further six-month extension of UNOMIG until 31 July 2005.

The Mission, which consists of 130 uniformed personnel, including 119 military observers and 11 civilian police supported by 103 international civilian personnel and 184 local civilian staff, was established in 1994 after an accord reached in Moscow ended the fighting.

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