Ban urges Russia, Georgia to control their armed forces

August 15th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 15 (DPA) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on both Russia and Georgia to rein in their armed forces following reports of looting, continued fighting and lack of access to those in need in the Caucasan country. Ban said Thursday that he had become “extremely concerned by the humanitarian impact of the recent conflict on the civilian population in Georgia, which has suffered loss of life and injury, significant damage to property and infrastructure.”

“All sides should control forces under their command to ensure that the current state of lawlessness ceases,” he said.

Ban Thursday discussed the situation by telephone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and with the US envoy to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad. The UN did not provide details of the conversations.

Ban said in a statement that large parts of Georgia proper and the breakaway South Ossetia are inaccessible to international relief organisations because of the “ongoing insecurity, lawlessness and other constraints.”

Russian military forces have occupied parts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway independent provinces of Georgia, and Gori, a central Georgian city, since the fighting erupted with Georgian forces last week.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme have airlifted relief supplies to more than 100,000 Georgians displaced by the fighting.


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