UN renews efforts for Georgian-Abkhaz peace

Renewing efforts to reach a peace settlement to the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the United Nations hosted a meeting of interested parties, which put forward a set of proposals on economic, humanitarian, political and security issues.
High-level representatives of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's "Group of Friends" on Georgia met in Geneva yesterday and today in a bid to move the peace process forward. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, chaired the meeting and Heidi Tagliavini, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Georgia, also attended.

The Group - comprising France, Germany, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States - reaffirmed its commitment to the principles for a political settlement to the conflict and Ms. Tagliavini will convey the proposals to both sides. The countries also acknowledged the validity of the existing negotiation mechanisms, particularly the Coordinating Council and its Working Groups.

In January, the Secretary-General said talks on the future status of Abkhazia had made little progress in the last year and he recommended the continued presence of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for another six months.

"The tone of the two parties has hardened, there is a deep mistrust between them and they show little sign of willingness to make the substantive compromises necessary for a meaningful peace process," he said.