July 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 June 2006
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EUROPE

Georgia

Expected Council Action

The Council will receive the quarterly Secretary-General’s report on the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). Discussion is expected to be limited and is likely to focus on the developments in terms of peace proposals from both the Georgian government and the Abkhaz leadership.

No formal action is expected at this point. However, should the initiative in the Georgian Parliament which calls for the withdrawal of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) troops gain momentum, a more lively discussion may ensue. 

Recent Developments
Both sides introduced peace proposals in the past few weeks. The Abkhaz authorities reportedly agreed to discuss economic proposals without prior acceptance of independence from Tbilisi, but still insist on the need for eventual recognition. The Georgian proposal reportedly calls for autonomy for Abkhazia and the replacement of CIS troops by UN police, but the reactions from the Abkhaz leadership have not been very encouraging.

Together with Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine, Georgia has recently reinvigorated a regional initiative (known by the acronym GUAM) aimed at increasing regional cooperation for solving internal conflicts. The governments of the GUAM countries particularly denounced “unresolved conflicts and illegal presence of foreign groups and armaments in GUAM States” as obstacles for development and democracy, and also opposed the illegality of separatism and outside interference.

Council and Wider Dynamics
The signals sent by Tbilisi in the coming weeks will be watched closely in Moscow. It is unclear whether recent bilateral contacts in St. Petersburg have made progress in improving relations between the countries.

Russian-Georgian dynamics are also affected by the developments regarding Georgia’s other breakaway region, South Ossetia. The Georgian Parliament has already favoured the pullout of Russian troops from that region. Recent disagreements over the rotation of Russian peacekeepers in the region seem to have contributed to the straining of bilateral relations. And Moscow has given repeated warnings that the outcome on Kosovo may influence its policies vis-à-vis the Caucasus.

Within the Group of Friends (comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and, also within the Council, Slovakia) some see hope in the recent increase in contacts between Tbilisi and the Abkhaz leadership. Some are also encouraged by the fact that the Georgian Parliament’s resolution on Russian troops in South Ossetia showed a degree of caution in its language and was not binding on the government. But there is recognition that the outcome of the initiative in the Georgian Parliament could still move things in a negative direction.

UN Documents

 Latest Security Council Resolution
  •  S/RES/1666 (31 March 2006) extended UNOMIG’s mandate until 15 October 2006.
 Other Documents
  • S/2006/364 (5 June 2006) contained the latest GUAM declarations and communiqué.
  • S/2006/173 (17 March 2006) was the latest Secretary-General’s report.

For the historical background, please see our March 2006 Forecast Report.

Other Relevant Facts

 Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission 
 Heidi Tagliavini (Switzerland)
 UNOMIG: Size and Composition
  • Authorised strength as of 30 April 2006: 131 total uniformed personnel, including 120 military observers and 11 police
  • Key troop-contributors: Germany, Pakistan and Jordan
 Duration
 August 1993 to present.
 Cost
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $36.38 million (gross)
 Other Facts
 Size of CIS troops: about 2,000 Russian troops


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