Georgia top UN officials depart former mission area

The departures of the Chief Military Officer and Senior Police Adviser are part of the Mission’s liquidation phase, which includes the withdrawal of its military and police personnel.It follows the Security Council’s lack of agreement to renew the Mission’s mandate, which led to UNOMIG effectively ceasing its functions in mid-June.“According to the drawdown plan, all civilian staff will also be leaving in the near future, with the goal being to completely close the Mission by November 2009,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters. For nearly 16 years, UNOMIG was entrusted with overseeing the ceasefire accord between the Government and Abkhaz separatists in the country’s north-western region.It had no jurisdiction in nearby South Ossetia, the scene of fighting last August which pitted Georgia against separatists and their Russian allies.Ms. Montas also reported that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Johan Verbeke, chaired the first meeting, under UN auspices, of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism yesterday.The purpose of the Mechanism, she said, is to bring together the Georgians, Abkhaz and Russians, as well as representatives from the UN and European Union, on a periodic basis to discuss security matters.At yesterday’s meeting, held in the town of Gali, it was agreed to set up a “hotline” to prevent future incidents. Participants also agreed to meet on a bi-weekly basis, and the next meeting is scheduled to be held in Gali under UN auspices on 28 July. 15 July 2009The top military and police officials serving with the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) – which ceased its functions last month – have now left what was formerly their area of operation, a spokesperson for the world body announced today.

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