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Explanation of Vote on UNSC Resolution 1716

Explanation of Vote on UN Security Council Resolution 1716

Ambassador John R. Bolton , U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

New York City
October 13, 2006

The United States is deeply concerned about the continuing conflict in Georgia's Abkhazia region and the lack of progress toward its resolution. Our position, shared by the members of the Friends of the UN Secretary General for Georgia, is to promote a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the conflict that respects the territorial integrity of Georgia. The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) plays a vital role in the security of Georgia and the region and is essential to our mutual efforts to resolve the conflict. Therefore, the United States welcomes the extension of its mandate.

As always, the United States has sought to achieve, together with the Friends of the UN Secretary General for Georgia, a renewal resolution that is balanced and focuses on positive provisions that will encourage the sides to engage in confidence building measures and ways forward toward a resolution of the conflict. The Friends agreed on a framework for such a text in Berlin on September 28.

Therefore, we regret the decision of the Russian Federation to table a resolution, outside of the Friends' process, that was not consistent with the longstanding close cooperation among the Friends. It is important that established cooperative procedures be followed in order to strengthen our mutual efforts to support both parties of the conflict in building confidence and working toward lasting peace and stability. Nevertheless, because achieving a constructive resolution that would be supportive to both sides in resolving the conflict was so important, we negotiated as long as possible toward that goal within the Friends and sought throughout these negotiations to achieve a text that all could fully support.

The United States firmly believes that both sides to the conflict must adhere strictly to the cease-fire agreement and that it is appropriate for the Security Council to address all cease-fire violations and resolutions. At the same time, we wish to make clear that the U.S. views the Georgian law enforcement action in the Kodori Valley as the exercise of the Georgian Government's sovereign right and obligation to administer to the needs of its citizens in all regions of Georgia, including Abkhazia's Upper Kodori Valley, provided that the Georgian Government carries out such actions in accordance with the cease-fire agreement and related agreements.

The recognition in this resolution of the report of the Secretary General that tensions have increased between the sides as a result of the Kodori Valley action underscores that military action on the part of either side is absolutely inadmissible to the Security Council. President Saakashvili reaffirmed in his speech last month to the General Assembly his country's firm commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and avoidance of any actions that would be destabilizing. We call on the Security Council to support Georgia in this commitment and to lend full support to both sides of the conflict to make progress toward a peaceful, negotiated resolution.

Released on October 13, 2006


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