The Security Council this afternoon demanded that the parties to the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina comply "fully, unconditionally and without any further delay" with their commitments regarding the release of prisoners, implementation of the constitutional framework, withdrawal of foreign forces, ensuring freedom of movement, cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, return of refugees and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
In a statement read out by its President, Juan Somavia (Chile), the Council demanded that the parties to the Agreement fully implement it and demonstrate a genuine commitment to confidence- and security-building measures, regional arms control, reconciliation and the building of a common future. The Council called on the authorities concerned with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward vigorously on measures to strengthen that Federation and to implement in full the Sarajevo Agreement concluded on 30 March.
The Council expressed concern at the failure of all parties to comply with the provisions of the Peace Agreement concerning the release of prisoners, stressing that the "obligation to release the prisoners is unconditional". In that context, the Council noted the readiness of the High Representative to propose measures to be taken against any party that failed to comply.
By the same text, the Council expressed its support for the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its International Police Task Force and called on the parties to allow Task Force personnel immediate and complete access to any system, person, activity, proceeding, record or other item or event in Bosnia and Herzegovina upon request. Member States which had agreed to provide civilian police to the Task Force were urged to expeditiously dispatch qualified personnel to enable it to reach full deployment by mid-April.
Stating that economic reconstruction and rehabilitation throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina were key to the success of the implementation process, the Council urged that priority be given to projects aimed at facilitating the process of reconciliation and the economic reintegration of the whole country. It called on States and international institutions to honour fully their commitments regarding economic and financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Council expressed concern over recent developments in the Sarajevo area which caused thousands of Bosnian Serb civilians to leave their homes. It called on the parties to make greater efforts towards reconciliation and the reconstitution of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Sarajevo, "as a city of Bosniacs, Serbs, Croats and others and as the capital and seat of the future common institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina". It further called on the parties to put into place additional measures to ensure security and freedom of movement and conditions for the return of people affected in Sarajevo and all other transferred areas. The Council called on the parties to reverse the trend of population movements and partition efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina along ethnic lines.
Also this afternoon, the President, on behalf of the Council, extended sympathy to the Government and people of the United States in connection with the plane crash in Croatia yesterday which claimed the lives of 33 persons, including the United States Secretary of Commerce, Ronald H. Brown. The representative of the United States thanked the Council for its words of sympathy and condolence.
Text of Presidential Statement
The text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1996/15, reads as follows:
"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General of 29 March 1996 (S/1996/210*) submitted pursuant to its resolution 1035 (1995) of 21 December 1995, and the report of the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, annexed to the letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council of 13 March 1996 (S/1996/190). The Council welcomes both reports.
"The Security Council notes that, on the whole, the implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement, S/1995/999, annex) is proceeding according to the timetable established by this Agreement. It also notes, in general, satisfactory compliance with the military aspects of the Peace Agreement as confirmed in the most recent report to the Council on IFOR operations (S/1996/215, annex and appendix) and stresses that now the main
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emphasis in implementation efforts by the international community and the Bosnian parties themselves should shift to the civil aspects of the Agreement.
"The Security Council stresses that the responsibility for implementing the Peace Agreement rests primarily with the parties to that Agreement. It demands that they fully implement the Peace Agreement, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to confidence and security building measures, regional arms control, reconciliation and the building of a common future. In that context, it demands that the parties comply fully, unconditionally and without any further delay with their commitments regarding the release of prisoners, implementation of the constitutional framework, withdrawal of foreign forces, ensuring freedom of movement, cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, return of refugees and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. It calls upon the authorities concerned with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward vigorously on measures to strengthen that Federation and, to that end, to implement in full the Sarajevo Agreement concluded on 30 March 1996 (S/1996/244).
"The Security Council is particularly concerned at the failure to date by all parties to comply fully with the provisions of the Peace Agreement concerning the release of prisoners, in spite of the repeated commitments by the parties to do so. The Council stresses that the obligation to release the prisoners is unconditional. Failure to do so constitutes a serious case of non-compliance. In this context the Council affirms its support for the conclusions of the Contact Group Ministerial meeting of 23 March 1996 (S/1996/220) and notes the readiness of the High Representative to propose measures to be taken against any party that fails to comply.
"The Security Council expresses its full support for the High Representative who is in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Peace Agreement and mobilizing and, as appropriate, giving guidance to, and coordinating the activities of, the civilian organizations and agencies involved, in accordance with resolution 1031 (1995). It also expresses its full support for the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), and other international institutions and organizations involved in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. It affirms that the implementation of the Peace Agreement must be strict, just and impartial.
"The Security Council expresses its strong support for the UNMIBH's International Policy Task Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UN-IPTF). It notes that an effective United Nations civilian police operation is vital to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and encourages the UN-IPTF to implement its mandate as actively as possible consistent with Annex 11 of the Peace Agreement as referred to in resolution 1035 (1995). The Council, bearing in mind the agreement of the parties in Annex 11 of the Peace Agreement not to impede the movement of the UN-IPTF personnel or in any way hinder, obstruct or
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delay UN-IPTF personnel in the performance of their responsibilities, calls upon the parties to allow UN-IPTF personnel immediate and complete access to any site, person, activity, proceeding, record or other item or event in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the UN-IPTF may request. It notes with appreciation the participation of Member States in the staffing of the UN-IPTF and urges those Member States which have agreed to provide civilian police to dispatch expeditiously fully qualified personnel to enable the UN-IPTF to reach full deployment by mid-April. It encourages the UN-IPTF to accelerate the deployment of police monitors, consistent with maintaining their high quality. The Council also expresses its strong support for the Mine Action Center of UNMIBH and encourages States to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance.
"The Security Council recognizes that economic reconstruction and rehabilitation throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina are key factors for the overall success of the peace implementation process, reconciliation and reintegration. These tasks require the political will of and consistent efforts by the Bosnian parties as well as substantial international assistance. The Council urges that priority be given to projects aimed at facilitating the process of reconciliation and the economic reintegration of the whole country. It notes with appreciation the resources that have already been made available in this respect. It calls upon States and international institutions to honour fully their commitments regarding economic and financial assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council recalls the relationship, as described in the London Conference, between the fulfilment by the parties of their commitments in the Peace Agreement and the readiness of the international community to commit financial resources for reconstruction and development. It affirms that it is the parties themselves that have the most important role in re-establishing the economy of their country.
"The Security Council expresses its deep concern over recent developments in the Sarajevo area which caused thousands of Bosnian Serb civilians to leave their homes. The Council calls on the parties to make grater efforts towards reconciliation and the reconstitution of a multi- cultural and multi-ethnic Sarajevo, as a city of Bosniacs, Serbs, Croats and others, and as the capital and seat of the future common institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It further calls on the parties to put in place additional measures to ensure security, freedom of movement and conditions for the return of people affected in Sarajevo and all other transferred areas. The Council calls on the parties to reverse the trend of population movements and partition efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina along ethnic lines.
"The Security Council pays tribute to all those who have given their lives in the cause of peace in the former Yugoslavia and expresses its
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condolences to their families, including to the family of the Secretary of Commerce of the United States of America.
"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General and the High Representative to continue to keep the Council regularly informed on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and on the implementation of the Peace Agreement."
Reports before Council
Prior to adopting its presidential statement this morning, the Council considered the report of the Secretary-General (document S/1996/210*), in which he attributes the recent exodus of the Bosnian Serb population from Sarajevo to the bitterness, fears and hatred caused by the past four years of war. The Bosnian Serb authorities and those of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina bear a great responsibility for this set-back, as they did not reassure and persuade the Serb population to remain. As a result, there has been another round of population movements along ethnic lines, delivering a telling blow to the multi-cultural nature of Sarajevo society. Concern arises over the persistent strain evident between the two partners within the Federation. Divisive trends will increase unless the two communities make determined and sustained efforts to avoid conflict, establish cantons as agreed and strengthen Federation structures.
In the midst of such tensions, the Secretary-General recalls that the deployment of the UNMIBH was envisaged as an unarmed monitoring and advisory force. "It is not feasible to assign to this unarmed force the task of enforcing law and order in a country awash with weapons, all the more so when it has no authority to do so."
Reiterating that peace cannot be durable unless accompanied by justice, the Secretary-General states, "Following one of the most bitter wars in Europe since 1945, with unspeakable atrocities against civilians reaching the level of crimes against humanity, those individuals indicted by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia must be brought to trial".
The report provides information on problems encountered in the process of transferring authority in the suburbs of Sarajevo to the Federation. The relatively small number of Bosnian Serbs who chose to stay had been harassed by returning Bosniacs. "The suburb of Ilidza witnessed serious law and order problems after the hand-over when thousands of Bosniacs from Sarajevo entered the suburb and proceeded to harass and intimidate many of the remaining 3,000 to 4,000 Bosnian Serb residents, robbing and looting their apartments in the process." Conditions in the suburb of Grbavica deteriorated as Bosnian Serb police abandoned their duties. The Federation police who took control of the suburbs did little to halt the lawlessness.
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The Secretary-General points to strong indications that the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale had decided that Bosnian Serbs should not be allowed to remain in the suburbs, while for its part the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina did little to encourage the Bosnian Serb residents to stay. The Bosnian Serbs in Pale carried out an "overt and insidious campaign of pressure to induce them to leave, with intimidation being employed as necessary". The Bosnian Government gave virtually no guarantees to reassure the Bosnian Serb population, and allowed religious and nationalist programmes to be broadcast. "This is all the more deplorable as some Bosnian Serb leaders in the Sarajevo suburbs had taken great political and personal risks to remain in the city and persuade their constituents to do the same."
With respect to the activities of the UNMBIH, the Secretary-General discusses the main obstacle to the deployment of the 1,721 civilian police officers authorized for the International Police Task Force, namely the lack of suitable police personnel offered by Member States. The number of those who, upon arrival in theatre, failed to meet the minimum required qualifications -- eight years of policing, ability to communicate in English and driving skills -- has risen to alarming levels. To date, only 50 officers have been deployed, 542 are scheduled for deployment before 10 April, and 529 are planned for deployment before the end of that month. The Department of Peace-keeping Operations has dispatched a police selection assistance team to a group of countries, but this effort has required additional expenditures. The Secretary-General appeals to States to ensure that properly qualified personnel are provided to United Nations operations.
The report also discusses the establishment of a Mine-Clearance Centre, at the request of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to deal with the estimated 3 million land-mines scattered throughout the country. The World Bank has estimated that all mine-clearance efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina would require $70 million for the first 12 months. While so far there has only been a limited response to the Bank's efforts to solicit donors, that situation was expected to improve following a donors' conference held in Sarajevo on 16 and 17 March. The Secretary-General urges that organizations and governments involved in the mine-clearance activities adopt a coordinated approach so as to avoid a duplication of efforts.
Also before the Council is a letter dated 22 March from the Secretary- General to the Council President (document S/1996/215) transmitting a communication from the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The text of that communication is annexed to the letter, while the fourth report of the Implementation Force (IFOR) is contained in its appendix.
In his letter, the NATO Secretary-General expresses satisfaction with the compliance of the parties in implementing the military aspects of the
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Peace Agreement, but cautions that areas of serious concern remain. Those include the continued presence of foreign forces, the detention of prisoners of war in violation of the Peace Agreement and the violence associated with the transfer of Sarajevo suburbs to Federation control. "There is no doubt that there will be further challenges to meet as we move towards the next major deadline."
The deployment of the NATO element of IFOR is complete, according to the report, which covers the period since 26 February. The IFOR comprises approximately 49,000 personnel from all NATO countries as well as 6,500 others. It will be further strengthened as forces from other non-NATO contributors transfer under IFOR control. "IFOR is fully capable of carrying out its primary task of implementing the military aspects of the Peace Agreement." Force contributions from 12 non-NATO countries will be in theatre and operational next month. Offers from other non-NATO countries are still pending. A total of around 10,000 troops is expected to be provided by non- NATO contributors to IFOR.
The presence of rogue or extremist elements and the continued risk posed by foreign forces are cause for concern, the report states. In addition, occasional sniping and shooting incidents, although declining, have continued. "The very large number of mines that are scattered throughout Bosnia remain the most significant danger to IFOR personnel and others." Despite efforts to mark and clear minefields, the problem remains great. It is expected that the threat which mines pose to civilians is likely to increase as the weather improves and the population moves about more.
Regarding the cooperation of the parties, the report notes that the cease-fire continues to hold, and all parties have been generally in compliance with the requirements in the zones of separation and areas of transfer. While the Peace Agreement requires the withdrawal of all foreign forces, full compliance has not been achieved. All parties are still holding prisoners of war in violation of the Peace Agreement. Restrictions on the Freedom of movement for civilians, refugees and displaced persons continues to cause concern. In some areas, especially within Sarajevo, the ethnic balance of some police forces have been raising tension.
The report notes that the phased transition of the Sarajevo suburbs to Federation control has been achieved on time, but the looting, arson and beatings which accompanied it could have serious repercussions in other areas. The IFOR has worked to maintain control and calm within these areas, including through heavy patrolling.
The report also describes IFOR's involvement in the civil aspects of the Peace Agreement. For example, IFOR is supporting a number of reconstruction projects, mainly in areas of importance for the conduct of its mission.
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Further, IFOR continues to support the efforts of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to bring persons it indicted to justice by, among others, undertaking air reconnaissance and ground surveillance of suspected mass graves sites. In support of the International Police Task Force, IFOR is providing it with quick reaction forces and other forms of assistance. The report stresses the need for the Task Force to reach full strength as soon as possible in the interest of ensuring stability.
For its consideration, the Council also reviewed the 14 March report of the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina (document S/1996/190) in which he says "the success of the past months are obvious. The guns are silent and life is slowly returning to normality".
Military implementation has been the decisive factor during the period from the signature of the Peace Agreement in Paris on 14 December 1995 to the beginning of March of this year, he says. Stating that success in that area is the prerequisite for all other activities, he notes that the Implementation Force has been carrying out its tasks as envisaged, thus supporting the more far-reaching, complex and long-range efforts at reconciliation, reintegration and reconstruction.
During this first phase, he says, the structures necessary for the support to the different civilian implementation efforts have also been set up.
Political developments surrounding the transfer of territory provided for in the peace agreement have been troubling, he says. There was widespread destruction in the areas that were being transferred from the Federation to the Republica Srpksa in Western Bosnia, and the transition in the Sarajevo area also had to face difficulties with large numbers of refugees as a result. He regretted that three months after the Peace Agreement was signed, the forces of ethnic separation are still stronger that the forces of ethnic reintegration.
During the next phase of peace implementation, which will cover the period until the Rome Review Conference on 13 and 14 June, there must be visible signs of the international community living up to its commitment to help with the economic rebuilding of the country and the start of the process of the return of refugees and displaced persons.
In the succeeding third phase, elections must be a central element, he stressed. He expressed concern about the right of all political forces to equal access to the media, especially radio and television.
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The most critical area of the peace implementation this year, he states, will be the fourth phase following elections. After the certification of the election result, the process of setting up the common institutions must be initiated. This will also be the time when IFOR is terminating its mandate and the critical issue of the future of the Brcko area must be resolved. "It is then that we can judge whether Bosnia is heading for partition or reintegration", he said.
The High Representative expresses concern over significant funding shortfalls and states that the international community must address that question as soon as possible. He is also concerned about the will of the parties themselves, stressing that a genuine commitment to reconciliation and to the building of a future in common are required for the peace to last. Without that there will be distinct limitations as to what the international community can do.
He states that the activities of his office during the next phase of peace implementation will be concentrated on facilitating the political dialogue and concrete cooperation between the Federation and the Republica Srpska, on improving the coordination between the different economic, political and humanitarian implementation efforts, on mobilizing of the resources that been be necessary and on ensuring the full compliance with all the provisions of the Peace Agreement.
The meeting, which was called to order at 1:40 p.m., was adjourned at 1:59 p.m.
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