Determining that the present crisis in Albania constitutes a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council this evening welcomed the offer by certain Member States to establish a "temporary and limited multinational protection force" to facilitate the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance and to help create a secure environment for international organizations in Albania.
Adopting resolution 1101 (1997) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), the Council welcomed the offer made by Italy to take the lead in organizing and commanding the force. The Council also decided that the operation would be limited to a period of three months and that the cost would be borne by the participating Member States.
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council authorized the participating Member States to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the multinational protection force.
Taking note of the 27 March decision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to provide the coordinating framework within which other international organizations could play a part, the Council also requested the Member States participating in the multinational force to provide periodic reports at least every two weeks, with the first such report to be made not later than 14 days from today. At the end of the stipulated three-month period, the Council will assess the situation on the basis of those reports.
The representative of China made a statement.
The meeting began at 8:49 p.m. and was adjourned at 8:54 p.m.
The Security Council met this evening to consider the situation in Albania. It had before it letters from the Permanent Representatives of Italy and Albania.
The letter from Italy (document S/1997/258), addressed to Secretary- General Kofi Annan, states that the humanitarian situation in Albania "continues to deteriorate" and "requires prompt action by the international community".
The letter indicates that the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday, 27 March, adopted a decision that established the conditions for launching an assistance effort for Albania. In that regard, the letter states, Italy has taken the initiative of promoting the creation of a multinational protection force, with the objective of creating a safe and secure environment for the action of international organizations in Albania. In particular, the force would ensure protection of ports, the Tirana airport, the main communication lines and stocks of humanitarian aid.
"The Italian Government is prepared to work without delay with other Governments to enable the deployment of a temporary humanitarian operation for Albania," the letter states. "Italy would also be ready to take the lead in organizing and commanding such an operation." As such, the legal framework for such an action should take the form of a resolution by the Security Council authorizing Member States to conduct the operation.
In a letter to the President of the Security Council (document S/1997/259), Albania's representative, stressing the urgency of the matter, states that Albania "needs the assistance of the international community now" and is "looking forward to the arrival" of a multinational protection force. The force would stay in Albania until conditions on the ground made it possible for the Albanian Government to ensure safe delivery of humanitarian goods, the letter states, which could be after the coming general elections.
An annex attached to the letter supplies: updated information on the Albanian crisis; a copy of the OSCE decision of 27 March, in which it took note of the request of Albania to a group of countries for assistance and expressed its appreciation that certain participating States were willing to meet that request; and the conclusions of the Council of the European Union at its meeting on 24 March, in which it decided to establish an Advisory Mission to Albania and welcomed efforts to assemble a multinational protection force.
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6347 3758th Meeting (Night) 28 March 1997
The Council had before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/260), sponsored by Albania, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States, the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Taking note of the letter of 28 March 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations to the President of the Security Council (S/1997/259),
"Taking note also of the letter of 27 March 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations to the Secretary-General (S/1997/258),
"Taking note of Decision 160 of the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of 27 March 1997 (S/1997/259, annex II), including to provide the coordinating framework within which other international organizations can play their part in their respective areas of competence,
"Recalling the Statement of the President of the Security Council on the situation in Albania of 13 March 1997 (S/PRST/1997/14),
"Reiterating its deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Albania,
"Underling the need for all concerned to refrain from hostilities and acts of violence, and reiterating its call to the parties involved to continue the political dialogue,
"Stressing the importance or regional stability, and in this context fully supporting the diplomatic efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, in particular those of the OSCE and of the European Union,
"Affirming the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Albania,
"Determining that the present situation of crisis in Albania constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region,
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6347 3758th Meeting (Night) 28 March 1997
"1. Condemns all acts of violence and calls for their immediate end;
"2. Welcomes the offer made by certain Member States to establish a temporary and limited multinational protection force to facilitate the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance, and to help create a secure environment for the missions of international organizations in Albania, including those providing humanitarian assistance;
"3. Welcomes further the offer by a Member State contained in its letter (S/1997/258) to take the lead in organizing and commanding this temporary multinational protection force and takes note of all the objectives contained in that letter;
"4. Authorizes the Members States participating in the multinational protection force to conduct the operation in a neutral and impartial way to achieve the objectives set out in paragraph 2 above and, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, further authorizes these Member States to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the said multinational protection force;
"5. Calls upon all those concerned in Albania to cooperate with the multinational protection force and international humanitarian agencies for the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance;
"6. Decides that the operation will be limited to a period of three months from the adoption of the present resolution, at which time the Council will assess the situation on the basis of the reports referred to in paragraph 9 below;
"7. Decides that the cost of implementing this temporary operation will be borne by the participating Member States;
"8. Encourages the Member States participating in the multinational protection force to cooperate closely with the Government of Albania, the United Nations, the OSCE, the European Union and all international organizations involved in rendering humanitarian assistance in Albania;
"9. Requests the Member States participating in the multinational protection force to provide periodic reports, at lease every two weeks, through the Secretary-General, to the Council, the first such report to be made no later than 14 days after the adoption of this resolution, inter alia specifying the parameters and modalities of the operation on the basis of consultations between those Member States and the Government of Albania;
"10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6347 3758th Meeting (Night) 28 March 1997
QIN HUASUN (China) said the Chinese delegation was concerned about developments in Albania and hoped calm would soon be restored. He expressed appreciation for the efforts of the OSCE to help settle the situation. However, the situation in Albania was a matter of internal affairs, and involvement in those matters was not consistent with the provisions of the United Nations Charter. He was not in favour of using Chapter VII of the Charter to deal with those situations. However, in view of Albania's request, China would not stand in the way of the text's adoption. It would abstain.
The draft resolution was then adopted by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), as Security Council resolution 1101 (1997).
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