The Security Council this afternoon suspended the reduction of the military component of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia until 31 May 1997.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1105 (1997), the Council acted on the recommendation of the Secretary-General to suspend the reduction by 300 military personnel, which was mandated by resolution 1082 (1996), in light of the current situation in Albania. Referring to that resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations by 15 May on a subsequent international presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Council also welcomed the redeployment of UNPREDEP already achieved and encouraged the Secretary-General to continue further redeployment, taking into consideration the situation in the region.
The Secretary-General's recommendation on the matter was contained in a 3 April letter (document S/1997/276), in which he pointed out that UNPREDEP, which had been, to date, "a most successful mission", had begun at the end of March the mandated reduction of 300 in its military component to be completed by 30 April. Recent developments in Albania and the resulting lawlessness in certain areas of the country had demonstrated, however, that the stability in the Balkan region remained extremely fragile. While the problems in Albania were not in immediate danger of spilling over into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the crisis was a source of great anxiety for the citizens of that country and had led its Minister for Foreign Affairs to request in a 7 March letter to the Secretary-General (document S/1997/205) that the reduction of UNPREDEP be suspended.
In addition, the Secretary-General stated, the volatility of the situation had caused his Special Representative and the UNPREDEP Force Commander to convey their concern about the timing of the downsizing of the Force. With the concurrence of the Secretary-General, the drawdown of the military component had been temporarily suspended. The possibility of UNPREDEP concentrating the drawdown on the border between the former Yugoslav
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6355 3764th Meeting (PM) 9 April 1997
Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) could have negative repercussions, particularly if the Albania situation continued to deteriorate and affected the minority Albanian-speaking populations throughout the regions, he concluded.
The meeting, which began at 1:12 p.m., was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.
Security Council resolution 1105 (1997) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its resolution 1082 (1996) of 27 November 1996,
"Reaffirming its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
"Having considered the letter of 3 April 1997, and the recommendation contained therein, from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (S/1997/276),
"1. Decides to suspend the reduction of the military component of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) referred to in its resolution 1082 (1996) until the end of the current mandate on 31 May 1997;
"2. Welcomes the redeployment of UNPREDEP already achieved in the light of the situation in Albania, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue further redeployment of UNPREDEP taking into consideration the situation in the region, consistent with the mandate of UNPREDEP;
"3. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council by 15 May 1997 his report with recommendations on a subsequent international presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as referred to in its resolution 1082 (1996);
"4. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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