13 December 1996


Press Release
SC/6303



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF TAJIKISTAN MISSION UNTIL 15 MARCH 1997 SUBJECT TO PARTIES' COMMITMENT TO CEASE-FIRE, NATIONAL RECONCILIATION

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The Security Council this morning decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) until 15 March 1997 subject to the proviso that the 1994 Tehran Agreement on a cessation of hostilities remains in force and the parties demonstrate their commitment to a cease-fire, to national reconciliation and the promotion of democracy.

The Council, by its unanimous adoption of resolution 1089 (1996), decided that the UNMOT extension would remain in effect unless the Secretary- General reports the stated conditions have not been met.

The Security Council called upon the parties to comply fully with the Tehran Agreement which called for a cease-fire, and the cessation of other hostile acts on the Tajik-Afghan border and within the country for the duration of the peace talks, and to cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in resuming inter-Tajik talks in order to achieve a comprehensive political settlement. While welcoming the 10-11 December meeting between the President of Tajikistan and the leader of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), the Council encouraged them to continue their dialogue.

By other terms of the resolution, the Security Council condemned: violations of the cease-fire by the parties, terrorist acts against members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces and of the Russian Border Forces, and the mistreatment of members of UNMOT by both parties.

The Council welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to report to it by 15 January 1997 regarding compliance with the Tehran Agreement and on the results of meetings between the President of Tajikistan and the leader of the UTO. It requested him to make recommendations at that time regarding the nature and size of the United Nations presence in that country in light of the parties' compliance.

Addressing the Council were the representatives of Tajikistan and the Russian Federation.

The Council was called to order at 11:14 a.m. and adjourned at 11:36 a.m.


Council Work Programme

When the Council met this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General dated 5 December on the situation in Tajikistan (document S/1996/1010). In that report, the Secretary-General recommends that the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) be extended for another six months.

The Secretary-General states that there has been a "deterioration" in the overall situation during the past three months. The cease-fire, generally observed in the volatile Karategin Valley from 16 September to 1 December ended when the opposition re-took Garm by force. Violations have since continued on both sides, and UNMOT teams have been withdrawn to Dushanbe. The willingness of President Emonali Rakhmonov and Sayid Abdullo Nuri, leader of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), to negotiate a new agreement at meetings in Afghanistan and in Moscow would give much-needed impetus to the negotiating process, according to the Secretary-General.

According to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and subsequent to the issuance of the Secretary-General's report, a meeting had taken place on 11 December in northern Afghanistan with the participation of the Tajik leaders and the Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of Mission, Gerd Merrem. The leaders announced an agreement to restore the cease-fire -- to be monitored by joint teams accompanying United Nations observers -- and requested that the Security Council extend the UNMOT mandate and agreed on the text of a peace accord to be signed at a summit meeting in Moscow on 19 December.

The activities of UNMOT have been impeded by threats to its personnel and restrictions on their freedom of movement; emergency relief and development support activities have also been interfered with. Urgent humanitarian assistance is needed to ensure the physical survival of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, according to the report.

At the time of the last Tajikistan report, on 13 September, the opposition had taken control of the Karategin Valley from Garm to the Kyrgyz Republic border, while government forces had been reinforced east of Dushanbe and concentrated in Komsomolabad in preparation for confrontation. The Joint Commission, supported by UNMOT, had arranged for high-level negotiations which led to a 16 September agreement providing for the reinstatement of local authorities and the freedom of movement of unarmed opposition members.

(The Joint Commission -- established under the 1994 Tehran Agreement on a temporary cease-fire and the cessation of other hostile acts on the Tajik- Afghan border and within the country for the duration of the peace talks -- consists of representatives of the Government and of the opposition and is the main instrument of the cease-fire.)


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The cease-fire in the Karategin Valley had a calming effect on the situation in the Tavildara sector, were negotiations have been initiated. But the Karategin agreement was never fully endorsed by UTO, and fierce fighting ensued in the Tavildara sector in the third week of November. Following the outbreak of hostilities in the Karategin Valley on 1 December, the Special Representative undertook efforts to contain the situation, bearing in mind that President Rakhmonov and Mr. Nuri were scheduled to meet in Afghanistan on 9 December.

The Tajik-Afghan border area has been tense, particularly in the Kalai- Khumb and Vanj sectors, according to the report. Attempts by small groups of opposition fighters to infiltrate from Afghanistan had been repulsed by shelling from Russian border forces. The Commander of those forces subsequently informed UNMOT of an agreement with the Afghan border authorities barring UTO fighters from a 25-kilometre strip on the Afghan side of the border and granting Russian border forces the right of "hot pursuit" of opposition fighters.

Terrorist activities have continued to target Russian military personnel in Dushanbe, according to the Secretary-General. On 19 November, a Tajik Ministry of Defense officer of Russian origin was murdered; that same evening, the wife of a Russian serviceman was abducted. On 20 November, two Russian servicemen from the Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) were seriously wounded in an attack. On 22 November, a bus belonging to the Russian border forces was attacked with anti-tank rockets.

The negotiating process in Tajikistan has been at a "standstill" since July, according to the Secretary-General. In mid-September 1996, the Special Representative held consultations with President Rakhmonov in Dushanbe and UTO Deputy Leader Himmatzodah in Islamabad in preparation for a meeting of the leaders to take place in Moscow.

A preparatory session took place in Tehran from 9 to 17 October, centring on a draft agreement to be signed by the two leaders. Compromise formulas were agreed upon in the draft regarding a joint vision for the future State and society of Tajikistan, to be reflected in the preamble: the creation of a Commission on National Reconciliation; the duration of a 12 to 18-month transitional period; a 1 July 1997 target date for the conclusion of the inter-Tajik negotiating process; extension of the cease-fire for the entire duration of the negotiating process; the creation of a Consultative Forum of the Peoples of Tajikistan; and, a comprehensive amnesty and an exchange of prisoners of war and detainees.

In subsequent meetings of the Special Representative with Mr. Nuri in Tehran from 22 to 25 November and with President Rakhmonov in Dushanbe, an


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agreement was reached to hold a preliminary meeting between President Rakhmonov and Mr. Nuri on 9 December in northern Afghanistan. (That meeting reportedly has produced an agreement on the peace accord).

Regarding organizational aspects of UNMOT, the Secretary-General reports that as of December 1996, UNMOT had an overall strength of 96, including 44 military observers from Austria and 33 civilian staff, of whom 20 were recruited internationally. Brigadier-General Hasan Abaza (Jordan) served as Chief Military Observer.

The General Assembly, by its resolution 50/238 of 7 June 1996, appropriated $7,478,900 gross for the maintenance of the Mission for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997. Should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNMOT beyond 15 December 1996, the cost of maintaining the Mission is estimated at $623,242 gross per month, assuming continuance of its existing strength and responsibilities.

The Council also has before it a draft resolution (document S/1996/1026), which reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and the statements of its President,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 5 December 1996 (S/1996/1010),

"Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Tajikistan and to the inviolability of its borders,

"Expressing its grave concern at the continuing deterioration of the situation in Tajikistan and stressing the urgent need for the Government of Tajikistan and the leadership of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) to adhere sincerely to the commitments they have made to resolve the conflict and to achieve national reconciliation exclusively through peaceful, political means on the basis of mutual concessions and compromises,

"Expressing also its grave concern at the ongoing fighting in Tajikistan and repeated violations of the Tehran ceasefire agreement of 17 September 1994 (S/1994/1102, annex I) and about the failure of both parties to implement the Ashgabat agreements (S/1996/754, annex I),

"Emphasizing that the primary responsibility rests with the Tajik parties themselves in resolving the differences, and that the international support provided by this resolution must be linked to the process of national reconciliation and the promotion of democracy,


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"Expressing its satisfaction at the regular contacts between the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Russian border forces and the Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Tajikistan,

"Commending the efforts of UNMOT under difficult circumstances,

"1. Expresses its appreciation for the report of the Secretary-General of 5 December 1996;

"2. Condemns the ongoing flagrant violations of the ceasefire by the parties, in particular the recent opposition offensive in the Garm region, and demands the immediate cessation of all hostilities and acts of violence;

"3. Calls upon the parties to comply fully with the Tehran Agreement and all the other obligations they have assumed, and strongly urges them to extend the ceasefire for the whole duration of the inter-Tajik talks;

"4. Condemns also the terrorist acts and other acts of violence which have resulted in the loss of life of civilians as well as members of the CIS Peacekeeping Forces and the Russian border forces;

"5. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMOT until 15 March 1997 subject to the proviso that the Tehran Agreement remains in force and the parties demonstrate their commitment to an effective ceasefire, to national reconciliation and to the promotion of democracy, and further decides that this mandate will remain in effect until that date unless the Secretary- General reports to the Council that these conditions have not been met;

" 6. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to report to the Council by 15 January 1997 on the parties' compliance with the Tehran Agreement and the results of meetings between the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the leader of the UTO, and requests him also to provide recommendations in that report on the nature and size of the United Nations presence in Tajikistan in this light;

"7. Calls upon the parties to cooperate fully with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in resuming the inter-Tajik talks in order to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict, with the assistance of the countries and regional organizations acting as observers at the inter-Tajik talks, and, in this context, welcomes the meeting between the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the leader of the UTO on 10-11 December 1996, and encourages them to continue this dialogue;

"8. Welcomes the efforts of the Joint Commission in defusing tensions between government and opposition forces on the ground;


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"9. Strongly condemns the gross mistreatment of members of UNMOT by both parties, including threats against their lives, and urgently calls upon the parties to ensure the safety of the personnel of the United Nations and other international organizations, to cooperate fully with UNMOT, and to lift all restrictions on the freedom of movement of its personnel;

"10. Urges the Tajik parties to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross to facilitate the exchange of prisoners and detainees between the two sides;

"11. Expresses its serious concern at the indiscriminate use of landmines in Tajikistan and the threat which it poses to the population and UNMOT personnel, and welcomes the proposals of the Secretary-General in his report of 5 December 1996 in this regard;

"12. Expresses its deep concern over the worsening of the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan and calls upon Member States and others concerned to respond promptly and generously to the consolidated inter-agency donor alert on urgent humanitarian needs for the period from 1 December 1996 to 31 May 1997 launched by the Secretary-General;

"13. Encourages States to contribute to the voluntary fund established by the Secretary-General in accordance with resolution 968 (1994);

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

Statements

RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said the situation on the Tajikistan borders had been described as tense. Mercenaries had crossed the border and tried to bring their terrorist acts into the country. They continued to bank on armed conflict and acts of violence and to undermine the Tehran Agreement. Not all of the leaders of the UTO had the political will to follow the peace process. The President of Tajikistan, however, was firmly committed to a peaceful dialogue and had demonstrated his good will on numerous occasions. Particular determination to find peace was shown in the 10-11 December meeting, sponsored by the Secretary-General's Special Representative, between the President and the leader of the opposition.

As a result of the meeting, he said, a joint declaration was adopted on the settlement of the situation in the conflict zones. There were plans to hold another meeting in Moscow to have a substantive discussion of broader issues and to lay the foundation for national reconciliation. Although Government troops had arranged to cease hostilities, the cease-fire broke down when the opposition troops attacked Government troops in the area of the Garm airport on 1 December. The Tajik Government had the strength, endurance and patience to follow the long and thorny path that had been set, he said. He


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welcomed the presence of UNMOT. His Government was serious in the agreement undertaken, particularly with regard to the free movement of UNMOT personnel. It would continue firmly and sincerely to follow the path of the peace process.

The wounds of war would long be felt, he said. Hope and faith fuelled the efforts of the Government to achieve peace and economic rehabilitation in its transition to a market economy system. He hoped that Member States should respond to the inter-agency appeal of the United Nations to help those regions which had suffered as a result of the armed conflict. The Government would cooperate closely with UNMOT. He would welcome a decision to extend the mission's mandate.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that today's resolution reflected the concern of the Council over the deterioration of the situation in Tajikistan, largely as a result of the unconstructive acts of the opposition. The resolution condemned the treatment of UNMOT members by both parties, including threats against their lives. It urgently called on the parties to ensure the safety of the personnel of the United Nations and other international organizations, and called on them to comply fully with the obligations assumed under the Teheran Agreement. It condemned such cease-fire violations as the recent opposition offensive in the Garm region, activities that constituted a seriously destabilizing factor.

The Council's consensus on the text, he said, gave great impetus to the proposed extension of the UNMOT mandate. The representative of Tajikistan had rightly called for a solution to the situation by political means. Mr. Lavrov welcomed the agreements arrived at in the 10-11 December meeting between the President of Tajikistan and the leader of the opposition, although he noted that the meeting had been on the verge of breakdown as a result of the violent attacks against United Nations military observers. He believed that there was high potential for implementation of the resolution, and pledged the full support of the Russian Federation, as an observer State, in that endeavour.

Action on Draft

The draft resolution was adopted unanimously as resolution 1089 (1996).

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