The Security Council this morning authorized the deployment of 100 military observers as part of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) for a further six months, until 15 January 1997. It took that action by its unanimous adoption of resolution 1069 (1996).
Today's action follows on a presidential statement of 3 July, by which the Council expressed its readiness to give favourable consideration to the mandate extension, which had been recommended by the Secretary-General. With the adoption of resolution 1069, the observers' mandate period now coincides with that of the operation as a whole.
According to the Secretary-General in a recent report on the UNTAES (document S/1996/472 and Add.1), the cost of extending the observers' mandate for six months will be $1.9 million. Stressing that the region is still tense, he says their continued presence will enhance the ability of UNTAES to ensure that demilitarization remains complete, to monitor any infractions and to report on other relevant development.
The UNTAES was established on 15 January by Council resolution 1037 (1996), for an initial period of 12 months, the Secretary-General states. Its objectives included bringing the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, demilitarized and secured, under the sovereign control of the Croatian Government. Demilitarization of the region began on 21 May and was completed on 20 June.
The Secretary-General says UNTAES has achieved significant progress in implementing its mandate. It has also contributed to the gradual normalization of relations between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Families and individuals who had not seen or heard from each other in many years are finally in touch. After five years of war and tension, there are signs of a new spirit of cooperation between the parties.
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6250 3686th Meeting (AM) 30 July 1996
In addition, the parties have shown a willingness to abide by their November 1995 agreement for the peaceful integration into Croatia of the specified region, the report states. The UNTAES will work to build confidence by maintaining stability and security in the post-demilitarization period. Its efforts have involved monitoring border crossings, local police stations, the treatment of arrested offenders and the prison system, as well as helping establish a Transitional Police Force.
The many challenges awaiting UNTAES include facilitating the return of displaced persons, the report states. Problems include the danger posed by mines and unexploded ordnance, the destruction of housing and infrastructure, and the urgent need to rebuild or repair houses before the onset of winter. In addition, assurances must be elaborated to protect the cultural and social identities of national minorities in a multi-ethnic society.
The meeting, which was called to order at 11:54 a.m., was adjourned at 11:58 a.m.
The full text of resolution 1069 (1996) reads as follows:
"The Security Council
"Recalling its resolution 1037 (1996) of 15 January 1996 establishing the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) and its resolution 1043 (1996) of 31 January 1996 authorizing the deployment of military observers as part of UNTAES,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 26 June 1996 (S/1996/472 and Add.1),
"1. Decides to authorize, as part of UNTAES, and in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1037 (1996), the deployment of 100 military observers for an additional period of six months, ending on 15 January 1997;
"2. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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