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Georgia: UN Mission Observes No Build-Up Of Forces

Georgia: UN mission observes no build-up of forces on either side

21 April 2008 - The United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) has stepped up its monitoring but said today that it has not seen anything so far to confirm recent media reports of a build-up of either Georgian or Abkhaz forces along the ceasefire line or in the Kodori Valley.

In a press release issued in Tbilisi, the mission said "the only sizeable movement of armed personnel through the security zone observed by UNOMIG's military observers was a notified in advance rotation of Georgian MIA personnel to and from upper Kodori Valley in the period 16-19 April."

Media reports claiming there has been a concentration of armed personnel and military hardware have prompted official statements in both Tbilisi and Sukhumi, lifting tensions between the two sides and increasing the possibility of a serious incident or direct confrontation.

"The reported shooting down of an unmanned aerial vehicle in the zone of conflict on 20 April is a case in point," UNOMIG said, urging both sides to exercise restraint and refrain from acts that could escalate the "already tense" situation.

The mission - which was established in 1993 - said it would continue to conduct focused monitoring to meet the concerns of Tbilisi and Sukhumi.

Last week, the Security Council, in a resolution extending the mandate of UNOMIG until 15 October, called on "all parties to consider and address seriously each other's legitimate security concerns, to refrain from any acts of violence or provocation, including political action or rhetoric, and to comply fully with previous agreements regarding ceasefire and non-use of violence."

ENDS

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