The Security Council this afternoon decided to extend the mandate of the multinational protection force in Albania for a period of 45 days starting on 28 June, and authorized Member States taking part in the force to work neutrally and impartially to help create a secure environment for international organizations in Albania and to facilitate the prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Adopting resolution 1114 (1997) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, further authorized those States to ensure the security and freedom of movement of the force's personnel. It called upon all those concerned in Albania to cooperate with the force, whose costs would be borne by its participating Member States.
Determining that the situation in Albania threatened peace and security in the region, the Council condemned all acts of violence and called for their immediate end.
Further, the Council asked States participating in the force to report at least fortnightly on the modalities of the operation. The reports would become the bases of further Council decisions at the end of the force's new mandate. Speaking before the vote on the text, China's representative said the Council should proceed cautiously because the United Nations Charter had stipulated that the Organization should not interfere in the internal affairs of States. The force's deployment should be seen as a special measure taken under special circumstances. But China would not stand in the way of the Council's extension of the force's mandate considering the Albanian Government's request for it.
Addressing the Council at the beginning of the meeting, Albania's representative asked the Council to extend the force's mandate beyond 28 June, as its presence would be crucial for parliamentary elections due on 29 June.
Italy's representative said the force had contained a rapidly deteriorating situation, helped the gradual return to law and order and enabled international organizations to work in Albania.
The meeting began at 12:44 p.m. and adjourned at 1:03 p.m.
Council Work Programme
For its consideration of the situation in Albania, the Security Council had before it a letter dated 16 June from that State's Permanent Representative (document S/1997/464) asking the Council to extend the presence of the multinational protection force in Albania for another three months. Created after the Council's adoption of resolution 1101 (1997) of 28 March, the force, known as operation "Alba", started working in Albania on 15 April.
Since then, he continues, the force has implemented its tasks and is operating in the smoothest possible way. While major improvements have been achieved in the area of public order, numerous challenges remain. For example, while the Albanian police force is being reorganized, serious threats remain for public security in some areas in view of upcoming parliamentary elections. Since the force's presence has helped normalize public order, it should be retained.
A letter dated 14 June, sent by the Secretary-General to the President of the Council (document S/1997/460), transmits the sixth fortnightly report on the force by Italy's Permanent Representative. Sought by resolution 1101 (1997), the report relays a recommendation that the force's mandate be extended for the period necessary to complete Albania's electoral process, but no more than 45 days after the end of the present mandate. The recommendation was made by the force's Steering Committee, which consists of the political directors of the troop-contributing countries and the Commander of the operation.
According to the report, the Steering Committee considered several requests by the Albanian authorities that the force remain during the electoral process to help ensure a secure environment for the monitoring teams of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Committee also noted that the force's withdrawal by 28 June, the day before the planned elections in Albania, as foreseen in resolution 1101 (1997), would not allow it to provide a secure environment and would undermine one of the main efforts of international assistance to Albania. It further noted that, for a limited period coinciding with the electoral process, a limited increase in the force's strength would be required to protect OSCE electoral missions.
Also before the Council was a draft resolution (document S/1997/472) sponsored by Albania, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. It read as follows:
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"The Security Council
"Recalling its resolution 1101 (1997) of 28 March 1997,
"Recalling the statement of 13 March 1997 of its President on the situation in Albania (S/PRST/1997/14),
"Taking note of the letter of 16 June 1997 from the Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations to the President of the Security Council (S/1997/464),
"Taking note also of the sixth report to the Council on the operation of the multinational protection force n Albania (S/1997/460),
"Taking note of Decision 160 by the Permanent Council of the Organization 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,
"Expressing appreciation for the neutral and impartial way in which the Council mandate has been carried out by the multinational protection force, in close cooperation with the Albanian authorities,
"Reiterating its concern over the situation in Albania,
"Underlining the need for all concerned to refrain from hostilities and acts of violence, and calling on the parties involved to continue the political dialogue and facilitate the electoral process,
"Stressing the importance of regional stability and, in this context, fully supporting the diplomatic efforts of the international community, particularly the OSCE and the European Union, to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and assist in the electoral process in Albania, in cooperation with the Albanian authorities,
"Taking note of the need over a short period of time, as underlined in the sixth report on the operation of the multinational protection force in Albania, for a limited increase in the contingent originally planned, for the purpose of protecting the OSCE mission, especially in view of the planned elections,
"Reaffirming the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Albania,
"Determining that the present situation in Albania constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region,
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"1. Condemns all acts of violence, and calls for their immediate end;
"2. Welcomes the readiness of the countries contributing to the multinational protection force to maintain their military contingents in Albania for a limited time as part of the multinational protection force in the framework of the mandate provided by resolution 1101 (1997);
"3. Further welcomes the intention of the countries contributing to the multinational protection force to continue, within the framework of the mandate provided by resolution 1101 (1997), to facilitate the safe and prompt delivery of humanitarian assistance and to help create a secure environment for the missions of the international organizations in Albania, including those providing humanitarian assistance, and takes note of all the elements contained in the sixth report to the Council on the operation of the multinational protection force in Albania, concerning, inter alia, the electoral monitoring mission of the OSCE-Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights; "4. Authorizes the Member 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 3 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 multinational protection force;
"5. Calls upon all those concerned in Albania to cooperate with the multinational protection force and with the missions of the international organizations; "6. Decides that the operation will be limited to a period of forty- five days from 28 June 1997, 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 to the Council through the Secretary-General, at least every two weeks, 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."
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PELLUMB KULLA (Albania) said the multinational force had helped improve the situation in his country, stabilized it and stopped conditions from deteriorating. Albania was preparing parliamentary elections that would have far-reaching consequences on its future. Since the presence of the force would be crucial to the success of the electoral process, the members of the Security Council should vote to extend its mandate beyond the expiry date of 28 June.
FRANCESCO PAOLO FULCI (Italy) said the unity of action of the international community on the Albanian crisis had enabled it to contain a rapidly deteriorating situation that could have threatened the country's long- term stability. By taking quick action, the international community prevented a dangerous spill-over into neighbouring countries. After the Council swiftly approved resolution 1101 (1997) on 28 March, one day after it was submitted, 11 countries had established the force and deployed it in a matter of days. With the original mandate due to expire on 28 June, the draft resolution before the Council would request its extension for another six weeks. The presence of the force and its patrols throughout Albania had enabled it to achieve two goals. In humanitarian terms, it had helped the return to a situation of normalcy. In security terms, the first containment of a rapidly deteriorating situation and the gradual return to law and order was allowing international organizations to work in Albania.
For Italy, he said, leading the force of some 6,115 men showed its commitment to Albania's security and the region's stability. Albanians should be helped to ensure the success of their elections, which would be a crucial step on the road out of its crisis and towards reconstruction and rehabilitation. The State's financial and economic problems, too, should be addressed to put the country back on the road to development and peace. A preparatory meeting for a donor conference had taken place in Rome on 26 May, and a ministerial meeting would be held after the elections to guide future action on the mobilization of resources from the donor community.
WANG XUEXIAN (China) said the United Nations Charter had stipulated that the Organization should not interfere in the internal affairs of States, such as Albania. Therefore, the Council should proceed with caution on the question before it. The Chinese delegation did not favour the original authorization of the deployment of the Force, let alone the expansion of its mandate.
The multinational force should terminate its mandate at the appropriate time, he said. As far as China was concerned, the deployment of the force should be seen as a special measure that had been taken under special circumstances. Taking into account the request of the Albanian Government for the extension of the force's mandate, China would not stand in the way of the
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Council's action to approve an extension of its mandate. But fundamental issues such as the long-term interest of countries of the world should be kept in mind. The problem in Albania would ultimately have to be solved by Albanians themselves. They should cooperate to help bring about peace in their country.
The Council then adopted the draft text by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China).
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