Thank you Mr. President. The United States deeply regrets the outcome of today’s vote on the draft resolution to extend the United Nations Mission in Georgia. The draft resolution would have given the Council time to reach agreement on a new mandate for the UN presence on the basis of the Secretary General’s recommendations—recommendations that most Council members have supported. Extending the mandate would have allowed the UN to continue to carry out its role in monitoring the ceasefire, addressing security and humanitarian concerns on the ground, and helping create the conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons.
Mr. President, we believe that a UN presence in Georgia is important. For this reason, the United States, along with other members of the Friends of the Secretary General for Georgia, have tried over the past two weeks to engage in good faith negotiations.
Regrettably, the Russian Federation could not agree to language in this technical rollover—language that reflects a well-balanced compromise that the Council had reached in its two previous resolutions on this issue. This language served to bridge the differing views among us on the situation in Georgia.
Despite our best good-faith efforts, UNOMIG’s mandate expired today. We will now consider measures to address a Georgia without a UN presence. We will continue to work closely with the leadership of the EU Monitoring Mission and with the co-chairs of the Geneva talks. In the meantime, it is the civilian population that suffers by facing a tenuous security environment without an international presence in Abkhazia, Georgia.
The United States, Mr. President, would like today to reaffirm once again in this chamber its commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. The vote today demonstrates that the majority of Council members agree.
The UN Observer Mission in Georgia has accomplished a great deal since its deployment in 1993. We thank the many members of the mission over the years for their hard work. We also thank the Secretary-General, the Secretariat and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Johan Verbeke for all their efforts to help resolve the conflict in Georgia.
Finally, we believe that the Council should remain seized of the matter, and in this regard we look forward to working with other members of the Council in the future. Thank you Mr. President.
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