The UN Security Council on Wednesday prolonged for another six months, up to January 31, 2004, the mandate of the mission of its observers in Georgia and also added to it 20 civil policemen.
Resolution No. 1494, unanimously adopted by all fifteen members of the Security Council, qualifies the absence of progress in settling the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict as "unacceptable." The document calls upon both sides to start negotiations and to define the status of Abkhazia within the framework of Georgia. The Security Council underscored that the negotiation process, leading to a lasting political settlement, will require certain concessions from both sides.
The Security Council hailed the results of the two conferences of the UN Secretary General's Friends on Georgia in Geneva and pointed out the importance of the meeting of the Russian and Georgian Presidents in Sochi in March 2003.
The members of the Security Council called upon the Abkhazian side to give its consent to the discussion of "The Basic principles of the Delimitation of the Powers between Tbilisi and Sukhumi" which was coordinated by the UN Secretary General's Group of Friends on Georgia.
The resolution calls upon both sides to openly say that they give up "a bellicose rhetoric" and statements in support of military variants of settling the conflict and the activity of illegal armed groups.
The mandate of the UN mission in Georgia, which was in force since 1993 expires on July 31. The mission consists of 117 military observers from 23 countries, including Russia and Ukraine.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.