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    Russia praises UN for extending observer mandate in Georgia, Abkhazia

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    The UN Security Council's resolution on extending a mandate of a UN observer mission in Georgia and Abkhazia will ensure stability in the region, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

    MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) - The UN Security Council's resolution on extending a mandate of a UN observer mission in Georgia and Abkhazia will ensure stability in the region, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

    The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1866 on February 13 to extend by another four months a mandate for its observer mission in Georgia and its former region of Abkhazia, recognized as an independent state by Russia.

    "The adopted resolution will ensure security and stability in this region. Russia...is ready to start immediately the work on the Council's decision to set up the parameters of the future UN mandate," the ministry said in a statement.

    The new UN document supports the Medvedev-Sarkozy ceasefire plan that ended a brief military conflict between Russia and Georgia last August and calls for the non-use of force in resolution of conflicts in the region.

    The UN mission in the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict zone - formerly known as the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) - was deployed in 1993 to oversee a ceasefire following a bloody post-Soviet conflict that resulted in Abkhazia gaining de facto independence.

    Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia after a five-day war last August with Georgia, which attacked the latter in an attempt to bring it back under the control of Tbilisi. Residents of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia have held Russian citizenship for many years.

    Russia's move was condemned by the United States and Europe. Nicaragua has so far been the only other country to follow Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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