12 September 1997


Press Release
SC/6417



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE ON UNMOT UNTIL 15 NOVEMBER

19970912

The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for a period of two months, until 15 November.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1128 (1997), the Council requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of all significant developments in Tajikistan, in particular on an adequate solution to the security problem, expressing its readiness to take a decision concerning the extension recommended by the Secretary-General.

Expressing concern that the security situation in Tajikistan remained volatile, the Council called on the parties to implement fully the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, which they signed on 27 June. The parties were encouraged to resume without delay the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation in Dushanbe.

The Council commended the efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Tajikistan and of UNMOT's personnel, encouraged them to continue assisting the parties in implementing the General Agreement through their good offices and called upon the parties to cooperate fully with those efforts.

Also by the resolution, the Council called upon the parties to cooperate in ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, the Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other international personnel. The Secretary-General was requested to continue to explore ways to provide security for United Nations personnel.

The Council encouraged Member States and others concerned to continue to respond promptly and generously to the urgent humanitarian needs in Tajikistan and to offer support to its rehabilitation, aimed at mitigation of the consequences of the war and reconstruction of its economy.

The meeting began at 11:25 a.m. and adjourned at 11:28 a.m.


Resolution Adopted

The resolution adopted by the Council reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and the statements of its President,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 4 September 1997 (S/1997/686 and Add.1),

"Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Tajikistan and to the inviolability of its borders,

"Welcoming the successful conclusion of the inter-Tajik talks, conducted under United Nations auspices since 1994, with the signing by the President of Tajikistan and the leader of the United Tajik Opposition in Moscow on 27 June 1997 of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510),

"Taking note that the implementation of the General Agreement will require the consistent good faith and constant effort of the parties, as well as the sustained and vigorous support of the United Nations and the international community,

"Taking note with appreciation of the readiness of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS Peacekeeping Forces) to assist in providing security for United Nations personnel at the request of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and with the agreement of the parties,

"Expressing concern that the security situation in Tajikistan remains volatile,

"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 4 September 1997;

"2. Takes note of the recommendations on the expansion of UNMOT contained therein;

"3. Calls upon the parties to implement fully the General Agreement and encourages them to resume without delay the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation in Dushanbe;

"4. Commends the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and of the personnel of UNMOT, encourages them to continue


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assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement through their good offices and calls upon the parties to cooperate fully with these efforts;

"5. Calls upon the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the CIS Peacekeeping Forces and other international personnel;

"6. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to explore ways to provide security for United Nations personnel;

"7. Decides to extend the present mandate of UNMOT for a period of two months until 15 November 1997;

"8. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of all significant developments, in particular on an adequate solution to the security problem, and expresses its readiness to take a decision concerning the extension of the UNMOT mandate recommended by the Secretary-General;

"9. Encourages Member States and others concerned to continue to respond promptly and generously to the urgent humanitarian needs in Tajikistan and to offer support to Tajikistan for rehabilitation, aimed at mitigation of the consequences of the war and reconstruction of its economy;

"10. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

Report of Secretary-General

For its consideration of the situation in Tajikistan and along the Tajik-Afghan border, the Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/686) in which he recommends that the Council expand the mandate of UNMOT and authorize the strengthening of the Mission from 45 to 120 military observers for an initial period of six months.

Under its expanded mandate, UNMOT would use its best efforts to promote peace and national reconciliation and to assist in implementing the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, which was signed on 27 June. To that end, it would provide good offices and expert advice; monitor the current ceasefire; and cooperate with the Commission on National Reconciliation and its subcommissions, and with the Central Commission on Elections and the Holding of a Referendum. The Commission is the main organ through which the Tajik parties intend to implement the General Agreement.

In addition, the Mission would participate in the work of the Contact Group -- created by the 28 May Protocol on Guarantees of the Implementation of


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the General Agreement -- and serve as its coordinator. The UNMOT would monitor the United Tajik Opposition fighters and their reintegration, disarmament and demobilization. It would also provide initial assistance for the reintegration into the governmental power structures or demobilization of ex-combatants, as well as coordinate United Nations assistance to Tajikistan during the transition period.

To carry out its expanded tasks, UNMOT would need to be strengthened significantly, the Secretary-General states. Its civil affairs component would need to be increased and additional expertise added in the areas of public law (including human rights), police, electoral affairs and coordination of international assistance for implementing the General Agreement. He says the Mission should also have an effective public information capacity to assist in keeping the Tajik population, as well as the international community, informed of relevant developments during this critical period.

The report states that the military component of UNMOT would be increased from its present authorized strength of 45 to 120 military observers. The observers would be organized in small teams to be deployed at the 10 assembly areas, the two crossing points and certain regional centres, as well as the headquarters in Dushanbe. It is anticipated that the number of military observers could be reduced once the merger of former United Tajik Opposition units with the governmental power structures is under way. The administrative component of UNMOT would be strengthened to support the larger Mission, as would its communications, road and air transport and other facilities.

The Tajik parties are aware that UNMOT will not be maintained indefinitely, and this is reflected in the one-year target they have informally set themselves to complete the transition, the Secretary-General states. He calls that an ambitious goal, given the magnitude of the task and the conditions prevailing in the country, which have once again deteriorated in recent weeks. Delays have already occurred, and he expresses the hope that the conditions will now be created for the Commission on National Reconciliation to begin discharging its responsibilities within the next few days.

The extent to which UNMOT personnel will be able to carry out their additional tasks without delay will depend on measures being taken to ensure that its personnel can perform their duties unhindered and be reasonably safe, the report states. So far that was not assured, especially in the central area around the capital and east of it. That situation severely circumscribes the Mission's ability to discharge its responsibilities for maintaining the ceasefire and implementing the protocol on military issues. The Secretary- General intends to keep the matter under close review and to delay the


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build-up of the Mission, if necessary, until an adequate solution to this problem has been found. Accordingly, he will keep the Council informed of relevant developments and seek its guidance, as appropriate.

In reviewing the situation in the country, the report states that the issue of security remains a serious concern. The area currently considered to pose the greatest risk extends from Dushanbe to Komsomolabad, through which runs the Mission's main road and air route for the movement and supply of the teams to be stationed in the Karategin valley and in the Tavildara sector. Several groups, which do not appear to be fully controlled by either the Government or United Tajik Opposition, operate in the area.

With respect to humanitarian and rehabilitation activities, the Secretary-General says that the return of United Nations personnel in early May permitted the resumption of humanitarian assistance in the country. However, the fighting among government forces in August forced a temporary evacuation of staff from the Khatlon area and a reduction of activities by United Nations agencies. Humanitarian organizations continued to play a key role in ensuring the continuation of relief and rehabilitation assistance programmes, especially during floods in May and June.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) resumed voluntary repatriation of refugees from Afghanistan on 17 July, the report states. As at 28 August, more than 3,000 persons were repatriated through Nizhniy-Pyanj. Preparations are also under way for the return of refugees through Ishkashim and Termez. The UNHCR issued an appeal in early August totalling $9.7 million to cover the cost of the return and initial reintegration of some 25,000 refugees, mostly from northern Afghanistan, over the next 18 months. Some 2,000 internally displaced persons were airlifted from Khorog to Dushanbe by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and another 2,600 were returned from Dushanbe to Darvaz district and Sagirdasht with government assistance.

The Secretary-General has asked his Special Representative for Tajikistan, Gerd Merrem, to take overall charge of the preparations for a meeting of potential donors, to focus on activities directly related to implementing the agreements -- particularly its critical first stages. Under Mr. Merrem's leadership, United Nations agencies, bilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations have prepared a draft document addressing the specific support requirements for the peace process. It is hoped that the meeting of potential donors may be convened by mid-October.

To ensure the purpose and effort, the Secretary-General says he has given his Special Representative authority during the transition period over all United Nations entities in Tajikistan, with the United Nations Resident Coordinator to be appointed as his Deputy. At United Nations Headquarters, a


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Task Force on Tajikistan has been established, in which all relevant departments and agencies are represented, to establish priorities for peace- building and to ensure coordination.

In his previous report, the Secretary-General had raised the possibility of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CIS assuming responsibility for the protection of United Nations personnel, provided all the parties agreed, he states. So far, this condition has not been met. Another option is the possibility of deploying a United Nations infantry battalion, but the agreement and cooperation of the parties has not been forthcoming. Alternatively, the parties themselves might jointly provide security for United Nations personnel with a combined force drawn from the Tajik army and the unit of 460 UTO fighters to be stationed in Dushanbe. The parties have not yet responded formally to that proposal.

The General Agreement does not contain a formal timetable for all the steps to be taken during the transition period, according to the report. The statute of the Commission on National Reconciliation stipulates that it is a temporary body and is to cease its activity after the convening of the new parliament and the formation of its leadership structures. It is anticipated that UNMOT would be required to function until that takes place. During the negotiations, the deadline of July 1998 in the protocol on military issues was taken as the target date for the completion of the transition as a whole.

In an addendum to his report (document (S/1997/686/Add.1), the Secretary-General informs the Council that the estimated cost of UNMOT is approximately $14.8 million for an initial period of six- months. The estimated cost provides for an increase of military observers by 75, supported by an additional civilian establishment of 48 international civilian staff and 87 locally recruited staff. Should the Council decide to authorize the Mission's expansion, the costs should be borne by Member States and assessments to be levied on Member States should be credited to the UNMOT Special Account.

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