The Security Council this afternoon authorized the attachment, for a three-month period, of 155 military observers to the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) to verify the implementation of the cease-fire agreement signed on 4 December 1996 by the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). The Secretary-General was requested to notify the Council no later than two weeks before the operation is to begin.
By adopting resolution 1094 (1997) unanimously, the Council called on the Government of Guatemala and the URNG to implement fully commitments made in the agreements signed in Guatemala City. It also called on the parties to cooperate fully with the verification of the cease-fire, separation of forces, disarmament and demobilization of URNG combatants as well as commitments under the other agreements in the overall package of accords.
By other terms of the resolution, the Council invited the international community to continue its support for the peace process in Guatemala and for the implementation of the agreements signed by both parties. It further requested the Secretary-General to report on the conclusion of the military observer mission.
Addressing the Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he had been gratified to find that the obstacle to deploying the military observers to Guatemala had been overcome. Paying tribute to the constructive approach demonstrated by the Member States most directly involved, and the efforts of the Group of Friends of the Guatemala Peace Process (Colombia, Mexico, Norway, Spain, United States and Venezuela), he said the resolution would allow for the effective verification of one of the most crucial elements of Guatemala's peace process.
The Secretary-General said the United Nations had been involved in that process since 1990, when it was invited to send observers to the peace
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process. Since then, it had taken a more active role, including through deployment of a human rights mission. A new chapter had now been opened in the United Nations responsibilities in Guatemala. He acknowledged the support of the Council and other Member States "for what would hopefully be recognized as one of the Organization's success stories".
The representative of China -- who had vetoed the draft resolution on 10 January -- said that, after many rounds of fruitful consultations between his country and Guatemala, a solution had been found which was acceptable to both countries, thereby removing the obstacles to China's support for today's resolution.
Also addressing the Council, the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Central American countries, expressed deep satisfaction at the Council's decision, which would make it possible for a United Nations contingent to verify the peace agreement in Guatemala, helping to bring peace and security to Central America.
Guatemala's representative said the Council had just made a crucial contribution to alleviating the suffering of the Guatemalan people and to providing them with a better destiny.
The meeting, called to order at 5:11 p.m., was adjourned at 5:29 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider a report on Central America: efforts towards peace (document S/1996/1045, Adds.1 and 2), in which the Secretary-General asks it to authorize a three-month deployment of 155 observers in a military component attached to the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of compliance with the Commitments of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA).
According to the report, the observers would verify the implementation of the definitive cease-fire agreement signed on 4 December in Oslo by the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). While that accord went into force with the two sides' signing of the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace on 29 December, the cease-fire itself will enter into force on the date a United Nations verification mechanism is deployed at full operational capacity.
The Council first considered that report at a meeting on 10 January, when it failed to adopt a draft resolution authorizing the deployment of the 155 United Nations military observers because of a negative vote by a permanent member of the Council, China.
Speaking after the vote, the Chinese representative said that "no country's peace process should be at the expense of another country's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Regrettably the Guatemalan Government had for four years supported activities aimed at splitting China in the Organization in violation of the United Nations Charter. It disregarded China's warnings and invited Taiwan authorities to the signing ceremony of the peace agreement in Guatemala, providing them with a venue for secessionist activities against China. He declared that "the question of Taiwan is a major question of principle that bears upon China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and the cause of national reunification". The Chinese Government has no room for compromise on that question, he stressed.
According to Secretary-General's report, should the Council authorize the deployment of 155 observers in a military component attached to MINUGUA, they would also verify the separation of forces and the demobilization of some 3,000 URNG combatants. Requested by the Guatemalan parties, they would be deployed in that country for three months at a cost of $3.4 million, which would be borne by Member States and credited to a special account to be established for the mission.
Explaining the operational concept behind MINUGUA's military component, the Secretary-General says that the observers will have to arrive in the mission area at least 15 days before Guatemala's cease-fire goes into effect. Between their arrival and the cease-fire's entry into force, they would be
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based in Guatemala City, with sectoral headquarters in that city and in Santa Cruz de Quiché.
As from 10 days before the cease-fire's entry into force, the Secretary- General says, the United Nations would deploy its personnel and equipment to verify the cease-fire at sites agreed to by the parties. During the cease- fire, MINUGUA's military observers would be present, for verification purposes, in designated units of the Guatemalan armed forces and at eight designated URNG assembly points. They would investigate alleged cease-fire violations.
Regarding the separation of forces, the Secretary-General says that the process would be carried out in several stages, with some Guatemalan soldiers redeploying to specified locations and URNG fighters gathering at various sites before moving to the assembly points. The redeployment of the Guatemalan armed forces is to start two days after the cease-fire goes into effect and to continue for no more than eight more days. The URNG fighters would begin their movement between 11 and 21 days after the cease-fire is in effect, as long as the Guatemalan armed forces have completed theirs. The URNG movements to the assembly points would be escorted by United Nations troops.
After the cease-fire becomes effective, the Secretary-General says, combatants would not be allowed to leave the assembly points without United Nations permission. The Organization's military observers would provide unarmed escort to URNG combatants leaving the assembly points for medical treatment and humanitarian purposes or to point out clandestine arms and munition depots and minefields.
From the beginning of the cease-fire until the completion of the URNG's movement to the assembly points, United Nations military observers would establish eight team sites of 15 personnel each to verify the cease-fire, according to the Secretary-General. Another 32 personnel would be placed at the eight team sites for command and control purposes.
The creation of six-kilometre-wide security zones around the URNG assembly points would ensure a minimum of that distance between Guatemalan armed forces units and the assembly points, reports the Secretary-General. Only United Nations military personnel would be allowed access there. A coordination zone with a radius of a further six kilometres would be established around each security zone. Movement in the coordination zones by members of the Guatemalan armed forces or volunteer civil defence committees must be coordinated in advance with United Nations military personnel.
Regarding the disarming of the URNG, the Secretary-General says that the registration and storage of weapons in the URNG assembly points would be
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verified by the permanent presence of United Nations military observers. The URNG is to provide the United Nations with details on the number of its combatants, on the inventories of weapons, explosives and of all other military equipment. The disarming process would consist of depositing, registering and handing over of all types of weapons and ammunition to the United Nations. Between 11 and 42 days after the cease-fire, the URNG would leave its military equipment and weapons in United Nations-designated warehouses. However, combatants could keep their personal equipment and weapons as long as they remain at the assembly points. The URNG weapons would be transferred to the appropriate Guatemalan authorities by the United Nations after the completion of the demobilization process. The URNG combatants would turn in their personal weapons and uniforms before vacating the assembly points.
The Secretary-General says that the demobilization of URNG's combatants, which would end its military structure, should be completed in phases 60 days after the cease-fire has gone into effect, under the terms of the definitive cease-fire agreement.
The 4 December definitive cease-fire agreement was the third such pact in the Guatemalan peace process signed in 1996, the report states. It was preceded by the 6 May agreement on social, economic and agrarian issues and the 19 September pact on the strengthening of civilian power and on the role of the armed forces. Both were signed in Mexico City.
Two other accords have been initialled since the definitive cease-fire agreement, says the Secretary-General. They are the 7 December Stockholm agreement on constitutional and electoral reforms and the 12 December Madrid pact on the integration of the URNG into Guatemala's political life.
In an earlier report on MINUGUA (document S/1996/998), the Secretary- General reviewed some of those agreements and what they had contributed to ending the 35 years of armed conflict in Guatemala.
According to the report, the entry into force of the agreements would represent a major challenge for the parties and the United Nations, which was asked by the parties to verify their accords by the terms of the Framework Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating Process of 10 January 1994.
However, he stated, measures to verify the peace accords fell outside MINUGUA's mandate, which related exclusively to implementing the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and the human rights aspects of the agreement on identity and rights of indigenous peoples. He recommended that MINUGUA be authorized, on an exceptional basis, to help verify the peace agreements; a process that would involve the deployment of United Nations military personnel.
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Text of Draft Resolution
The Council also has before it the following draft resolution (document S/1997/49, of 20 January), which reads as follows:
"The Security Council
"Expressing its full support for the peace process in Guatemala,
"Noting the fact that the peace process in Guatemala has been monitored by and under the auspices of the United Nations since 1994,
"Noting the letter to the President of the Security Council, dated 20 January 1997 from the Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations (S/1997/53),
"Recalling the Framework Agreement for the Resumption of the Negotiating Process between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) of 10 January 1994 (S/1994/53, annex) and all subsequent agreements, in which the parties agreed to request the United Nations to carry out international verification of the peace accords,
"Acknowledging the efforts of the Secretary-General, the Group of Friends of the Guatemala Peace Process, the international community, the United Nations system and other international agencies in support of the peace process,
"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General of 26 November 1996 (S/1996/998) on the United Nations Mission for the Verification of Human Rights and of Compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights in Guatemala (MINUGUA), which states that verification measures related to the agreement on the definitive cease-fire signed at Oslo on 4 December 1996 (S/1996/1045, annex) would involve inter alia the deployment of United Nations military personnel,
"Taking note also of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 December 1996 (S/1996/1045*) outlining the measures necessary for the verification of the agreement on the definitive cease-fire and the addenda to this report of 23 and 30 December 1996 (S/1996/1045, Add.1 and Add.2), and noting that the cease-fire will enter into force on the date the United Nations mechanism is in place with full operational capacity,
"Welcoming the agreements between the Government of Guatemala and the URNG which were signed at Guatemala City on 29 December 1996 and which, with the overall package of peace accords signed in Madrid, Mexico City, Oslo and
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Stockholm, put a definitive end to the Guatemalan internal conflict and will foster national reconciliation and economic development,
"1. Decides, in accordance with the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General of 17 December 1996, to authorize for a three- month period the attachment to MINUGUA of a group of 155 military observers and requisite medical personnel for the purposes of verification of the agreement on the definitive cease-fire, and requests the Secretary-General to notify the Council no later than two weeks before the operation is to begin;
"2. Calls upon both parties to implement fully their commitments under the agreements signed in Guatemala City and to cooperate fully with the verification of the cease-fire, separation of forces, disarmament and demobilization of URNG combatants, as well as commitments under the other agreements in the overall package of Peace Accords;
"3. Invites the international community to continue its support for the peace process in Guatemala and, in particular, for the implementation of the agreements referred to in paragraph 2 above;
"4. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council fully informed on the implementation of this resolution and to report on the conclusion of the military observer mission."
HISASHI OWADA (Japan), Council President, drew attention to the documents before the Council, including a letter dated 20 January he had received from the Permanent Representative of China. A copy of that letter, to be issued as document S/1997/53, had been distributed to Council members.
FERNANDO NARANJO, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Central American countries, expressed deep pleasure at the decision to be taken by the Council today. The Guatemalan Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace marked the culmination of over a decade of effort, and Central Americans celebrated it with great joy. After 36 years, peace was being established in Guatemala. Today's decision would make it possible for a United Nations contingent to verify the peace agreement in Guatemala, helping to bring peace and security to Central America.
QIN HUASUN (China) said his country had voted against the draft resolution on sending military observers to Guatemala when it was considered by the Council on 10 January. The causes of that situation were made clear in his statement on that occasion and would not be repeated today. China had all along supported the peace process in Guatemala and was gratified at the peace agreement reached by the two sides there.
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He said China favoured the peace process in Guatemala, monitored by and under the auspices of the United Nations, and had therefore kept the door wide open to a proper solution of the issue. In that spirit, it had undertaken many rounds of fruitful consultations with Guatemala over the past 10 days. Guided by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, they had finally found a solution acceptable to both countries, thereby removing the obstacles to China's support for the draft resolution.
He expressed hope for the ultimate success of the peace process in Guatemala, as well as for the further strengthening of the basis for cooperation between China and Guatemala in the United Nations.
The draft resolution was adopted unanimously as Council resolution 1094 (1997).
Speaking after the vote, Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said he was gratified that the obstacle to the Council's deployment of the military observers in Guatemala had been overcome. In recent weeks, the Secretariat had undertaken intensive consultations on the matter with the parties concerned, encouraging them to find common ground. He paid tribute to the constructive approach demonstrated by the Member States most directly involved, and the efforts of the Group of Friends of the Guatemala Peace Process.
He said today's resolution would allow for the effective verification of one of the most crucial elements of Guatemala's peace process. The United Nations had been involved in that process since 1990, when it was invited to send observers to the peace talks. Since 1994, it had taken a more active role, both through moderation of the negotiations and through the deployment of MINUGUA's human rights mission.
The signing of the peace agreement on 29 December 1996 had now opened a new chapter in the United Nations responsibilities in Guatemala, he said. Acknowledging the support of the Council and Member States at large, he expressed the hope that the United Nations role in Guatemala would come to be known as one of the Organization's success stories.
JULIO ARMANDO MARTINI HERRERA (Guatemala) expressed satisfaction that the Council had fulfilled its difficult responsibility in the maintenance of peace in Guatemala. The statements made at the Council's previous meeting on the matter provided ample cause for the gratitude of Guatemala's people and Government. The Council had just made a crucial contribution to alleviating the suffering of the Guatemalan people and to providing them with a better destiny.
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