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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Wants Tbilisi to Ease Off on Abkhazia

UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday to extend a UN observer mission in Georgia for six months and urge the country to refrain from provocative actions toward its breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The resolution "once again urges the Georgian side to address seriously legitimate Abkhaz security concerns, to avoid steps which could be seen as threatening and to refrain from militant rhetoric and provocative actions."

The 15-member council's resolution also reaffirmed a commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"It is mostly a resolution calling all the parties to the conflict to go back to the negotiating table," Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. "This is the centerpiece of efforts of the Russian Federation, playing an important part in trying to settle that long-standing conflict."

Relations between Russia and Georgia are tense. Moscow cut transportation and postal links with Georgia after Tbilisi briefly detained four Russian military officers on spying charges last month.

Russia also has been irked by Georgia's pursuit of NATO and European Union membership; Georgia accuses Russia of backing Abkhaz separatists.

Georgia's UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania welcomed the extension of the UN mission, but said he was concerned the resolution "ignores the reports of increased militarization of Abkhazia" and does not acknowledge that Russian peacekeepers have not fulfilled their duty in the region. Alasania said the Russian force was no longer impartial and that the peacekeeping operation should be multinational.

The UN resolution went through many versions, starting with a sternly worded draft by Russia after the detention of the officers. It was somewhat softened by the advisory group but the United States held off supporting it until the last minute, arguing the text was unbalanced.