U.N. critical for keeping peace in Georgia

May 21, 2009 at 2:33 PM

TBILISI, Georgia, May 21 (UPI) -- The U.N. mission in Georgia is vital to maintain peace and stability and to counter ongoing tensions, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report.

Despite concerns over the potential that Georgia and its South Ossetia and Abkhazia separatist regions may increase military forces along the borders, Ban called the U.N. mission in Georgia, known as UNOMIG, critical for security of the local population, the United Nations reported.

In February the U.N. Security Council extended UNOMIG's mandate in response to the tenuous security situation in Georgia following the country's violent August 2008 conflict with Russia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"The security situation in UNOMIG's area of responsibility has remained fragile, with a continued threat of incidents, including from mines and improvised explosive devises," Ban wrote in the report.

Ban said that in order to achieve lasting security in the volatile region, an agreement on a revised security regime is critical. Ban also called for an extended distance on both sides of the cease-fire line and that U.N. officials be allowed to regularly patrol the Kodori Valley among other requests.

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