The Security Council, meeting early Saturday morning, expressed its grave concern at the deteriorating situation in eastern Zaire and welcomed the Secretary-General's proposal that a multinational force be deployed there for humanitarian purposes.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1078 (1996), the Council strongly urged Member States to prepare arrangements for the safe delivery of humanitarian aid in the region and report as soon as possible on those arrangements, to enable the Council to authorize the deployment of the multinational force. The Council also decided that the cost of implementing the operation will be borne by participating Member States and voluntary contributions, and encouraged all Member States to contribute to the operation in any way possible.
Further, the Council requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with his Special Envoy, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), among others, to draw up a framework for a humanitarian task force, with military assistance, if necessary, charged with: delivering short-term humanitarian assistance and providing shelter; assisting the UNHCR with the protection and voluntary repatriation of refugees and displaced persons; and establishing humanitarian corridors for the delivery of assistance and to help voluntary repatriation.
The Council also requested the Secretary-General to secure the cooperation of the Government of Rwanda in further measures, including deployment of additional international monitors, and to report to the Council, with recommendations, no later than 20 November.
The Secretary-General was also invited to consult, on an urgent basis, with the Secretary-General of the OAU and concerned States to determine the procedures for convening an international conference for peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region and to take all steps needed to convene the conference.
The meeting, which began 1:48 a.m., was adjourned at 1:55 a.m.
The text of the resolution adopted by the Council reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Gravely concerned at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region, in particular eastern Zaire, and at the effect of the continued fighting on the inhabitants of the region,
"Recalling the statement of the President of the Security Council on the situation in the Great Lakes region of 1 November 1996 (S/PRST/1996/44) and the letters dated 14 and 24 October 1996 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council (S/1996/875 and S/1996/878),
"Particularly concerned at the humanitarian situation and the large- scale movements of refugees and internally displaced persons,
"Deeply concerned at the obstacles to the efforts of all international humanitarian agencies to provide relief and assistance to those in need,
"Stressing the need to address, as a matter of urgency, the humanitarian situation, and in this context, underlining the necessity to adopt, in consultation with the States concerned, measures necessary in order to enable the return in the region of humanitarian agencies and to secure the prompt and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need,
"Having considered the letter dated 7 November 1996 from the Secretary- General to the President of the Council (S/1996/916),
"Welcoming the regional efforts which are aimed at reducing tension in the region, in particular the contribution made by the regional leaders at their meeting in Nairobi on 5 November 1996,
"Noting the letter dated 6 November 1996 from the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the Secretary-General, which contains the communiqué of the Nairobi regional summit on the crisis in eastern Zaire (S/1996/914),
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6287 3710th Meeting (AM) 9 November 1996
"Taking note of the request addressed to the Council by the regional leaders, at their meeting in Nairobi on 5 November 1996, to take urgent measures to ensure the establishment of safe corridors and temporary sanctuaries by deploying a neutral force,
"Taking note also that the regional leaders called for an intensification of efforts towards the voluntary repatriation of refugees to Rwanda,
"Expressing its intention to respond positively on an urgent basis to those requests,
"Bearing in mind the reaffirmation by the Nairobi regional summit of its commitment to the territorial integrity of Zaire and stressing the need for all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States in the region in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations,
"Underlining the urgent need for the orderly and voluntary repatriation and resettlement of refugees, and the return of internally displaced persons, which are crucial elements for the stability of the region,
"Reiterating its support for the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and underlining the need for all Governments in the region and parties concerned to cooperate fully with the mission of the Special Envoy,
"Welcoming the efforts of the mediators and representatives of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the European Union and the States concerned, and encouraging them to coordinate closely their efforts with those of the Special Envoy,
"Underlining the urgent need for an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU to address the problems of the region in a comprehensive way,
"Taking note of the letter dated 8 November 1996 from the Chargé d'affaires of Zaire to the President of the Council (S/1996/920),
"Determining that the magnitude of the present humanitarian crisis in eastern Zaire constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region,
"1. Condemns all acts of violence and calls for an immediate cease- fire and a complete cessation of all hostilities in the region;
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6287 3710th Meeting (AM) 9 November 1996
"2. Calls upon all States in the region to create the conditions necessary for the speedy and peaceful resolution of the crisis and to desist from any act that may further exacerbate the situation, and urges all parties to engage in a process of political dialogue and negotiation without delay;
"3. Reaffirms its commitment to the establishment of conditions conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees to their country of origin as a crucial element for the stability of the region;
"4. Calls upon all States to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the States in the region in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations;
"5. Calls upon all those concerned in the region to create favourable and safe conditions to facilitate the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to those in need and to ensure the safety of all refugees, as well as the security and freedom of movement of all international humanitarian personnel;
"6. Welcomes the Secretary-General's letter dated 7 November 1996, including in particular his proposal that a multinational force be set up for humanitarian purposes in eastern Zaire;
"7. Strongly urges Member States, on an urgent and temporary basis and in cooperation with the Secretary-General and with the OAU, to prepare the necessary arrangements, in consultation with the States concerned, to allow the immediate return of humanitarian organizations and the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to displaced persons, refugees and civilians at risk in eastern Zaire, and to help to create the necessary conditions for the voluntary, orderly and secure repatriation of refugees;
"8. Requests the Member States concerned to report to the Council through the Secretary-General on those arrangements as soon as possible to enable the Council to authorize the deployment of the multinational force referred to above upon receipt of the report, which will, inter alia, reflect the results of the consultations with the States concerned in the region, and bearing in mind the need to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the multinational force referred to in paragraph 6 above;
"9. Decides that the cost of implementing such an operation will be borne by the participating Member States and other voluntary contributions, and encourages all Member States to contribute to the operation in any way possible;
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6287 3710th Meeting (AM) 9 November 1996
"10. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with his Special Envoy and the coordinator of humanitarian affairs, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, with the OAU, with the Special Envoy of the European Union and with the States concerned:
"(a) To draw up a concept of operations and framework for a humanitarian task force, with military assistance, if necessary, drawing initially on immediately available contributions from Member States, with the objectives of:
-- Delivering short-term humanitarian assistance and shelter to refugees and displaced persons in eastern Zaire;
-- Assisting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with the protection and voluntary repatriation of refugees and displaced persons;
-- Establishing humanitarian corridors for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and to assist the voluntary repatriation of refugees after carefully ascertaining their effective will to repatriate;
"(b) To seek the cooperation of the Government of Rwanda in, and to ensure international support for, further measures, including the deployment of additional international monitors, as appropriate, to build confidence and ensure a safe return of refugees;
"(c) To report to the Council with recommendations no later than 20 November 1996;
"11. Calls on the OAU, the States of the region and other international organizations to examine ways in which to contribute to and to complement efforts undertaken by the United Nations to defuse tension in the region, in particular in eastern Zaire;
"12. Expresses its readiness to examine without delay the recommendations that the Secretary-General might submit in this regard;
"13. Invites the Secretary-General, on an urgent basis and in close consultation with the Secretary-General of the OAU, and with the States concerned, and in the light of the recommendations of his Special Envoy, to determine the modalities of the convening of an international conference for
Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6287 3710th Meeting (AM) 9 November 1996
peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region and to make all necessary arrangements to convene such a conference;
"14. Decides to remain actively seized on the matter."
When the Security Council met to consider the situation in eastern Zaire, it had before it a letter dated 7 November from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council (document S/1996/916), which proposes that the Security Council authorize Member States with the necessary capacities to establish a multinational force, in consultation with the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and regional States. That force should be deployed to ensure stabilization of the security situation sufficient to allow civilian agencies to provide relief to refugees and prepare for their repatriation.
The Secretary-General describes three options regarding the force structure: the first option would be for a group of Member States to seek the Council's authority for the formation of a multinational force operating under command and control arrangements of their own design. The advantage of that structure -- which had been employed in several recent cases -- was that it permitted the deployment of a force more rapidly than if the task was entrusted to the United Nations. It would also keep open the possibility of a United Nations force to take over once conditions permitted.
The second option would be deployment of a United Nations peace-keeping force, the Secretary-General states. But the experience of recent years had shown that the United Nations lacked the capacity to deploy a strong-enough force, quickly enough, to respond to the kind of crisis unfolding in eastern Zaire.
A third option would be the deployment of a regional force. While leaders of countries in the region had demonstrated their readiness and ability to take political action to address problems in their region, deployment of a substantial military force in the necessary time-frame would require financial and logistical support. Regional leaders, at their 5 November summit in Nairobi, had indicated their preference for the Security Council to deploy a "neutral" force, says the Secretary-General.
He concludes that either of the first two options would require that organizers work closely with the OAU and consult with countries of the region, especially with those countries in which the force is to be stationed, or which will be asked to provide facilities. In that regard, the Secretary- General notes that President Mobutu of Zaire had informed the Secretary- General's Special Envoy, Raymond Chrétien, that he fully endorsed the
Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6287 3710th Meeting (AM) 9 November 1996
decisions of the Nairobi regional summit and was agreeable to the deployment of an international force in Zaire.
Summarizing recent events, the Secretary-General states that more than 1.2 million Burundian and Rwandan refugees and tens of thousands of Zairians had been displaced by fighting. Refugees had abandoned their camps in North and South Kivu provinces and were moving west towards inaccessible regions of Zaire. Those refugees were scattered beyond the reach of humanitarian agencies. Unless effective action was urgently taken, he states, "many tens of thousands of human beings are going to die of hunger and disease". And, while urgent humanitarian action was required, it must also be action that helps create the necessary conditions for the repatriation of refugees.
The Secretary-General states that stabilization of the situation in the region should be sufficient to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance. That would involve the securing of airfields and border crossings, the protection of logistics supply bases, and the identification and protection of accessible locations from which refugees could be assisted.
All governments concerned had acknowledged that there was a need for the early repatriation of refugees, the Secretary-General states. The short-term response of the international community should not be allowed to recreate conditions in which refugees could again be intimidated by those who did not want them to return to their home countries.
Also before the Council is a 29 October letter from the Secretary- General (document S/1996/888) which describes the mandate of the Secretary- General's Special Envoy -- Raymond Chrétien of Canada. It states that the Special Envoy will consult with all concerned in order to establish the facts and will develop plans for defusing tension and establishing a cease-fire and negotiations. Secondly, he will explore the possibilities for the early convening of a regional conference. Thirdly, he will present advice on the development of his mandate and on the size and structure of the United Nations political presence in the region.
Also before the Council are letters from the Secretary-General to the President of the Council dated 14 October (document S/1996/875) and 24 October (document S/1996/878). For detailed background of those letters, see Press Release SC/6285 of 1 November.
* *** *