15 July 1996


Press Release
SC/6245



SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES MISSION OF OBSERVERS TO CONTINUE MONITORING DEMILITARIZATION OF PREVLAKA PENINSULA

19960715

Determining that the situation in Croatia is a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council this morning authorized the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula until 15 January 1997.

The UNMOP, established as an independent mission on 1 February, monitors the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula by carrying out daily patrols on both sides of the border between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). It consists of 28 United Nations military observers under a chief military observer, Colonel Goran Gunnarsson of Sweden.

By the terms of the unanimously adopted resolution 1066 (1996), the Council noted the 30 September 1992 Joint Declaration signed at Geneva by the Presidents of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) reaffirming their agreement to demilitarize the peninsula and urged the parties to abide by their mutual commitments and continue negotiations to normalize their relations.

It encouraged them to adopt practical options proposed by the United Nations military observers to reduce tension, as referred to in the 27 June report of the Secretary-General. In that report, the Secretary-General states that UNMOP has presented to the parties a number of suggestions for improving safety and security in the area of the Prevlaka peninsula. While not fully adopting the UNMOP procedures, the parties have indicated that they coincide with their own views of how tensions in the region can be diminished.

The Council also requested the Secretary-General to report by 5 January on the situation in the peninsula and on the progress made by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) towards resolving their differences peacefully. The Council asked the United Nations military observers and the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR) to cooperate with each other. The Council, which was called to order at 11:16 a.m., was adjourned at 11:19 a.m.


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Text of Resolution

The text of the resolution reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its earlier relevant resolutions, and in particular its resolutions 779 (1992) of 6 October 1992, 981 (1995) of 31 March 1995, 1025 (1995) of 30 November 1995, and 1038 (1996) of 15 January 1996,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 27 June 1996 (S/1996/502),

"Reaffirming once again its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia,

"Noting the Joint Declaration signed at Geneva on 30 September 1992 by the Presidents of the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which reaffirmed their agreement concerning the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, emphasizing the contribution that this demilitarization has made to the decrease of tension in the region, and stressing the need for the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to agree on a settlement which would peacefully resolve their differences,

"Stressing the importance it places on mutual recognition among the successor States to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, within their internationally recognized borders,

"Determining that the situation in Croatia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

"1. Authorizes the United Nations military observers to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, in accordance with resolutions 779 (1992) and 981 (1995) and paragraphs 19 and 20 of the report of the Secretary-General of 13 December 1995 (S/1995/1028*) until 15 January 1997; "2. Urges the parties to abide by their mutual commitments and to continue their negotiations with a view to normalizing fully their bilateral relations, which are critical for the establishment of peace and stability throughout the region;

"3. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council by 5 January 1997 a report for its early consideration on the situation in the Prevlaka peninsula, as well as on progress made by the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia towards a settlement which would peacefully resolve their differences;


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"4. Encourages the parties to adopt the practical options proposed by the United Nations military observers to reduce tension, as referred to in the report of the Secretary-General of 27 June 1996;

"5. Requests the United Nations military observers and the multinational implementation force (IFOR) authorized by the Council in resolution 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995 to continue to cooperate fully with each other;

"6. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

Secretary-General's Report

In his report (S/1996/502), the Secretary-General notes an improvement in the situation in the Prevlaka area and recommends a three-month extension of UNMOP until 15 October. He also notes UNMOP's important contribution to the promotion of a better climate for bilateral negotiations between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). He says both governments have requested the continuation of the UNMOP mandate.

In an addendum to the report (document S/1996/502/Add.1), the Secretary- General says an extension of UNMOP's mandate for three months would cost $500,000.

The Secretary-General observes that no other international or regional organization, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Community Monitoring Mission, has expressed a willingness to undertake full-time monitoring of the area. While the UNMOP presence in Prevlaka cannot continue indefinitely, the Secretary-General says "if it were to be removed at this stage, one or other party could seek to fill the vacuum created by its departure and the ensuing military tensions could prejudice the process of the two sides' political negotiations on their mutual relations". He urges the parties to continue to accelerate their negotiations and to normalize fully their bilateral relations which, he adds, are critical for the establishment of peace and stability throughout the region.

In his report, the Secretary-General says the Croatian army has cleared one of the mined areas at the shore-line next to the road leading to UNMOP headquarters at Prevlaka, and that a similar operation in another area within the demilitarized zone has yet to be carried out. A partial restriction on the movement of the United Nations military observers on the coastal road has been lifted. There is, however, a continued presence of a Croatian military- type positions manned by special police, as well as a Federal Republic of Yugoslavia checkpoint.

As regards the rest of the demilitarized zone, the Secretary-General says Croatian heavy weapons have been withdrawn from areas which UNMOP has


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been permitted to patrol and that Croatian military personnel has been replaced by special police. Heavy weapons of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have similarly been withdrawn, but UNMOP has been unable to confirm if the withdrawal is complete. However, the permanent restriction of movement previously imposed in the northern part of the demilitarized zone has been eased.

Field defence fortifications manned by Croatian special police in a section of the demilitarized zone remain unchanged. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia military units are deployed along the border. In addition, mines laid by both sides in the area have not been cleared. The deployment of forces and heavy weapons in the areas adjacent to the demilitarized zone creates the risk of an escalation of tension in the area, the Secretary- General adds.

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