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No more UN and OSCE missions in the South Caucasus2009-06-30 17:49
The UN mission observers started leaving the South Caucasus. Their withdrawal will be over in two weeks. The OSCE mission has been present in the region for 17 years, its mandate having expired today.
The day before, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative Johan Verbeke arrived in Abkhazia. The visit of the United Nations Organization representatives was attributed to the necessity of meetings with the authorities of the young republic in order to discuss various aspects related to the UN mission liquidation in Abkhazia, IA Apsynpress reports. "I feel sorry that the UN mission is terminating its activities after its 16-year presence in Abkhazia; we have hoped to the last moment that the mandate would be prolonged, - Edmond Mulet underlined. - Sometimes the UN mission in the region had to carry on its work in rather severe conditions. 16 officials have died". He
concluded his speech with the expression of gratitude to the Abkhazian authorities for the long years of fruitful joint cooperation aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the conflict zone.
Head of the Abkhazian MFA Sergey Shamba also expressed his regret as to the termination of the mission activities, having underlined that the republican authorities were very much interested in maintaining the international presence in Abkhazia and made serious efforts to find a compromise. "However, the lack of flexibility on the part of some member-countries of the UN Security Council prevented a positive decision on this matter", - the Minister is quoted by the press service of the republican authorities. According to Shamba, during its stay in Abkhazia, the mission has much contributed to the process of stabilizing the situation, setting the negotiating process and providing humanitarian and social assistance to the people. "Besides, UN has always acted as an unbiased middleman in the negotiating process despite of the existing discrepancies on principal matters", - Sergey Shamba added.
Prime Minister of the republic Alexander Ankvab also expressed gratitude to the mission officials. "Out attitude to the UN mission was more than once underlined during the meetings of the president of Abkhazia with the UN representatives, as well as in the letters and statements made by the republic authorities, - Ankvab reminded. - All these years you have been doing serious work. As to the Abkhazian party, it has developed not only business relations but also human relations with the mission officials".