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New UN Mission in Caucasus: to be or not to be?2009-05-21 12:55
On May 19 the United Nations disseminated its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's report on the situation in South Caucasus. Moscow and Tbilisi have different interpretations of the document that played a crucial role for the Geneva discussions.
In his report for the Security Council UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon suggests forming a completely new security regime between Georgia and Abkhazia allowing for new tasks and a new mandate of the UN mission in the region, RIA-Novosti reports. It is proposed to create 12-km security zones on both sides of the Georgian-Abkhazian border on land and at sea. The armed forces, ships or military equipment must not be located inside these zones. According to Ban Ki-moon restricted weapons zones with the ban on deployment of heavy armament including tanks, rocket systems, artillery, trench mortars and ammunition depots must become the second 12-km ring. Access of military or reconnaissance aircrafts including pilotless drones to the security zones must be denied.
Another important part is the implementation of preliminary notification mechanism (48-72 hours) on movements of the military personnel and armaments inside security zones and information on military facilities in Senaki and Ochamchir. Finally it's UN's regular monitoring of the situation in the region and meetings within the framework of incident prevention mechanism.
Ban Ki-moon suggests creation of a"UN Stabilization Mission" in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict responsible for implementation of a new security regime. According to the Secretary General the mandate could have a humanitarian component with the mission to provide freedom of movement for local residents across the ceasefire line, creation of conditions for safe return of refugees and human rights activities.
The UN Secretary General's report has already been defined as "a jolt of fresh air for the South Caucasus". But can all provisions be complied with taking into account interests of each party? Now it is believed in Tbilisi that Ban Ki-moon's document has allegedly been pressured by Moscow. Moscow's opinion is ambiguous too believing the report is biased. The case is that to a certain extent the Secretary General's proposals put limitations on both sides giving a number of authorities to the UN.