Susan Stewart
The Role of the United Nations in the Georgian-Abkhazian Conflict

Journal of Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 2003: issue 2,
ISSN: 1617-5247

This article analyses UNOMIG efforts at stabilization and mediation in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, arguing that while progress in both realms has been slight, there is reason to conclude that stabilization attempts have been more successful than those of mediation. The author contends that difficulties in the mediation sphere can largely be attributed to UN insistence on Georgian territorial integrity and on a comprehensive settlement including continued substantial progress on the question of Abkhazia's political status. While coordination between the CIS peacekeepers and the UN has proceeded smoothly, the multidimensional involvement of the Russian Federation has complicated the constellation of actors surrounding the conflict. Owing to these external as well as other internal factors, the author concludes that the outlook for Georgian-Abkhazian negotiations in the short to medium term appears bleak, but that the conclusions drawn from the role of the UN in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict can be useful for understanding difficulties the UN is likely to encounter in similar interventions.