The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (UNPREDEP) for six months until 30 November. It also decided on the start of a two-month phased reduction of the mission's military component by 300 all ranks beginning from 1 October.
By unanimously adopting resolution 1110 (1997), the Council welcomed the redeployment of UNPREDEP in the light of the situation in Albania and encouraged the Secretary-General to continue redeploying the Force. The Council also asked him to review UNPREDEP's composition, deployment, strength and mandate, taking account of the situation in the region, particularly in Albania, in the context of its elections. The Secretary-General was asked to report to the Council by 15 August.
The representative of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Naste Calovski, said UNPREDEP's activities had helped prevent a spill over of the Balkan war towards the south and had also been an important factor in stabilizing the region. But negative developments in the region, particularly in Albania, made the extension of the mandate an obvious necessity. The mission's capacity and abilities should be utilized thoughtfully and effectively and it should continue to act as an important preventive deployment United Nations force in the region, he added. Also making statements were the representatives of the Russian Federation, United States and Japan.
The meeting was called to order at 12:12 p.m. and adjourned at 12:31 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider a report of the Secretary-General (documents S/1997/365 and Add.1), in which the Secretary- General recommends that the mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (UNPREDEP) be renewed for an additional six months until 30 November 1997. He further recommends that the present strength of the Force be maintained for a period of four months, up to 30 September, with a view to starting as of 1 October, taking into account the conditions prevailing at that time, a two-month phased reduction of the military component to the 750 troop level foreseen by the Council in resolution 1082 (1996).
In the light of the strong views conveyed to him by the Government of the host country for a continued UNPREDEP presence, the Secretary-General states, the continuation of the conditions that led to the suspension of the drawdown of the military component and the challenges to be faced in the region in the near future, he is of the view that it would be imprudent to recommend that the UNPREDEP mission be terminated. Also, it would be equally imprudent to recommend any immediate changes in the mandate or size of the Force at this time.
He recalls that, as he had pointed out in a letter of 3 April to the Council President (document S/1997/276), recent developments in Albania have demonstrated that stability in the Balkan region remains extremely fragile. Uncertainty still prevails in that country, in part because of the lack of a constructive dialogue among the parties. There have been doubts about the possibility of holding free and fair elections in June. In the absence of a legitimate, elected and representative government and of progress in re-establishing collapsed public institutions, efforts to revive the shattered economy of Albania will be severely undermined. So, too, will the relative stability established by the multinational protection force. In addition, the lack of a perceptible and early change in the situation in Albania could lead to another explosion of internal violence, which may have a negative impact on neighbouring countries.
In that regard, he continues, the large number of weapons circulating in the region, some of which have already been interdicted in the border areas by the authorities of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, pose a risk to stability in the region that cannot be neglected. Yet, another potentially destabilizing factor in the coming months will be the outcome of the elections scheduled to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September of this year.
The Secretary-General states that he has instructed his Special Representative and the Force Commander to evaluate the effectiveness and composition of each component of the UNPREDEP mission and to provide him in a timely manner with their recommendations on measures that will ensure that the
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mission implements all of its mandates in a cost-effective and coherent fashion, including the possibility of improving the structure of the military elements of the Force.
He adds that he has also requested a reassessment of the present deployment of those elements in order to ensure a higher state of operational efficiency and increased flexibility to respond to changing circumstances on the ground, in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 1105 (1997). He has further instructed UNPREDEP to examine the feasibility of reorganizing the mission in order to enhance the role of the civilian police, military observer and civilian elements in the fulfilment of the mandate.
The Secretary-General's report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1082 (1996) of 27 November 1996. By that resolution, the Council decided to extend the mandate of UNPREDEP until 31 May 1997 "with a reduction of its military component by 300 all ranks by 30 April with a view to concluding the mandate as and when circumstances permit". In the same resolution, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report to it by 15 April with his recommendations on a subsequent international presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Council subsequently decided, in its resolution 1105 (1997) of 9 April, to suspend the reduction of the military component until the end of the current mandate on 31 May and requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Council by 15 May the report referred to in resolution 1082 (1996).
Elsewhere in the report, the Secretary-General states that the establishment of UNPREDEP as an independent mission in 1996 has considerably upgraded its capacity for political action under the terms of paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 908 (1994) of 31 March 1994. The civilian component of the mission has utilized the good offices mandate vested in his Special Representative to bring together the various communities in an effort to promote mutual understanding, help strengthen respect for human rights and ease political and inter-ethnic tensions within the country.
The civilian component of the mission has also been active in initiating contacts among various segments of the population in order to address a number of underlying socio-economic problems which, if neglected or overlooked, have the potential to exacerbate political tensions, he continues. That activity has been of special importance given the precarious social and economic situation in the country. Humanitarian assistance to the local population, especially on the part of the national battalions, has also been an important element of the actions of UNPREDEP.
United Nations organizations, agencies and programmes are making a modest, but important, contribution to the country as regards institutional capacity-building and the strengthening of governmental infrastructure and mechanisms, the report states. At the initiative of UNPREDEP, several
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agencies have also provided assistance in areas crucial to the country's development. Those include the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division, and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. The report provides information on the activities of those organizations.
In the addendum to the report, the Secretary-General states that in his report on the financing of UNPREDEP which is currently before the General Assembly (document A/51/508/Add.3), the cost of maintaining the Force at its present strength for a 12-month period is estimated at $49.5 million gross (equivalent to $4,125,000 per month). Therefore, should the Security Council decide to extend the mandate of UNPREDEP, the cost of maintaining the Force will be within the resources to be provided by the Assembly.
As at 30 April 1997, unpaid assessed contributions to the UNPREDEP special account for the 12-month period ending 30 June 1997 amounted to $7.8 million. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peace- keeping operations as at 30 April was $1,644.5 million.
Also before the Council is a draft resolution (document S/1997/405), which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and in particular its resolutions 1082 (1996) of 27 November 1996 and 1105 (1997) of 9 April 1997,
"Recalling also its resolution 1101 (1997) of 28 March 1997, which expressed the Security Council's deep concern over the situation in Albania,
"Reaffirming its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
"Reiterating its appreciation for the important role played by the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability and paying tribute to its personnel in the performance of their mandate,
"Welcoming the significant progress made by the Governments of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in developing their mutual relations in many areas and reiterating its call on the two Governments to implement in full their Agreement of 8 April 1996 (S/1996/291, annex), in particular regarding the demarcation of their mutual border in the light of the willingness shown by them to resolve the matter,
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"Taking note of the letter of 1 April 1997 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the Secretary-General, requesting the extension of the mandate of UNPREDEP (S/1997/267, annex),
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 12 May 1997 and the recommendations contained therein (S/1997/365 and Add.1),
"Noting his observation that recent developments in the region, and in particular in Albania, have demonstrated that stability there remains fragile,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNPREDEP until 30 November 1997 and to start as of 1 October 1997, taking into account the conditions prevailing at that time, a two-month phased reduction of the military component by 300 all ranks;
"2. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed about any relevant developments and further requests the Secretary- General to review the composition, deployment, strength and mandate of UNPREDEP as outlined in his report, taking into consideration the situation prevailing at that time in the region, in particular in Albania, including in the context of elections in that country, and to report to the Council by 15 August 1997 for its consideration;
"3. Welcomes the redeployment of UNPREDEP already achieved in the light of the situation in Albania, and encourages the Secretary-General to continue further deployment of UNPREDEP, taking into consideration the situation in the region, consistent with the mandate of UNPREDEP;
"4. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
Statements NASTE CALOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said that a decision to extend UNPREDEP's mandate would make it clear that the Council and the international community continued to support preventive activities and peace efforts in the region. The activities of UNPREDEP and its clear message had greatly helped to prevent a spill over of the Balkan war towards the south and had also been an important factor in stabilizing the region. But negative developments in the region, particularly in Albania, had made the need to extend UNPREDEP's mandate an obvious necessity.
The Force's future preventive tasks would not be easier than in the past, he said. The complex situation in the region and the difficulty of predicting precisely future developments would require continuous and able coordination of all peace efforts in the region. The capacity and abilities of the mission should be utilized thoughtfully and effectively, and it should continue to act as an important preventive deployment United Nations force in the region.
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The Council then unanimously adopted the draft before it as resolution 1110 (1997).
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that the mandate of UNPREDEP had been successfully implemented, and the Force had contained a complicated situation. Now, the urgent task was to work out a proper reconstruction of the Force and focus its efforts in the Albanian area. He noted the recommendations contained in the Secretary General's report, particularly those regarding its military elements, its strength and the enhancement of its civilian police component and civilian elements. He expressed the hope that those recommendations would be implemented as soon as possible given the upcoming elections in June.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said his country welcomed the extension of the mandate, stressing that UNPREDEP played an important and highly effective role in promoting stability in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The crisis in Albania had heightened the need for UNPREDEP's continuation. However, there were other sources of instability and tension in the region which also reinforced the importance of the Force. His Government fully supported a message of sustained, undiminished international commitment to UNPREDEP and the region.
The resolution, he said, was the product of the Secretary-General recommendations and candid discussion among Council members. It also represented the Council's decision to proceed with a course of action which was ultimately in the best interests of the region, despite any differences among Council members on specific ways in which that might be most effectively achieved.
He said objectivity and a spirit of cooperation and compromise had prevailed in the Council. The United States believed the resolution would strengthen UNPREDEP's ability to carry out its difficult mission and enhance the Council's collective efforts in the region.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said when considering the mandate of UNPREDEP, it was important to consider the situation in neighbouring areas and countries. Albania was of particular concern. While the situation there had stabilized owing to the deployment of the multinational protection force and the efforts of humanitarian agencies, restoration of political, economic and social order would take some time, even after the election planned for June. There had also been an increasing number of incidents taking place along its border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, demonstrating how fragile peace in the region was.
He said the unrest and tensions stemming from ethnic rivalries in Kosovo in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the difficulties in the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were
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likewise sources of concern for the maintenance of international peace and security, as was the situation surrounding inter-ethnic relations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia itself.
He said he fully supported the Secretary-General's rationale for the renewal of the UNPREDEP mandate and welcomed his endeavour to ensure the cost- effectiveness of the Force, coherency in its mandate, greater efficiency in its operations and increased flexibility in its changing circumstances on the ground. His Government had made bilateral efforts to complement those by the international community. For example, in March it had extended to the Government of the former Yugoslav of Macedonia a non-project grant-aid of 500 million yen and would consider further aid.
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