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EU extends the last observer mission’s mandate

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Tuesday, July 28
On July 27 the Council of the European Union adopted the decision to extend the mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) for another 12 months until 14 September 2010.

At the 2,958th External Relations Council meeting held in Brussels yesterday the Council stated that the deployment of EU monitors has contributed to creating the necessary conditions for the implementation of the ceasefire agreements of 12 August and 8 September, 2008. According to the Council’s statement the “rapid deployment of the mission following the conflict between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 showed the EU’s willingness and ability to act resolutely to promote peace and stability.”

At yesterday’s meeting the Council again called upon Russia to fully comply with its commitments, including the withdrawal of all its military forces to the positions held prior to the outbreak of hostilities, highlighting that the EUMM should carry out its activities in the whole territory of Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “EUMM Georgia has a country-wide mandate and has called for the unhindered access of the EUMM to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which has so far been denied,” the Council statement reads.

“The Council welcomed the achievements of EUMM Georgia, in particular in the areas of stabilisation, normalisation, and confidence building. The mission’s presence on the ground remains a key stabilising factor. EUMM Georgia has monitored the partial withdrawal of Russian troops and the return of Georgian police to areas adjacent to the administrative boundary lines,” the Council states. It also highlights that the mission has reported several serious incidents, and on the situation of internally displaced persons, the respect of the rule of law, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Despite this the Council “encouraged the mission to continue its efforts, including taking part in the implementation of different confidence building measures”.

Yesterday the Council expressed its regret at the OSCE and UN Monitoring missions leaving Georgian territory, emphasising that in such a situation EUMM Georgia has a greater responsibility and crucial role in the region. The Council also expressed its support for the Geneva negotiations and their continued Co-Chairmanship by the EU, UN and OSCE.

The Council recalled its conclusions of 13 October 2008 and those of the European Council on 1 September 2008 and reiterated its “firm support for the security and stability of Georgia, based on full respect for the principles of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity recognised by international law, including the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and United Nations Security Council resolutions.”