18 September 1997


Press Release
SC/6419



SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIAN GOVERNMENT TO FULFIL KEY TASKS FOR TRANSFER OF EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY IN EASTERN SLAVONIA, BARANJA AND WESTERN SIRMIUM

19970918
Presidential Statement Expresses Deep Concern at Lack Of Progress By Government in Fulfilling Those Conditions

The Security Council this afternoon expressed deep concern at the lack of substantial progress by the Government of the Republic of Croatia in fulfilling the conditions and tasks that are key to the transfer of executive authority to the Republic of Croatia in the territories of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium.

Through a statement read by its President, Bill Richardson (United States), the Council called upon the Croatian Government to meet its obligations and commitments and to remove immediately all administrative and legal obstacles to the two-way return of all displaced persons and to the return of refugees, ensure security and social and economic opportunity including property rights for all returnees, and take measures to prevent harassment of returnees.

The Council also called on the Government immediately to implement measures to establish effective local government administrations; ensure the regular payment of benefits to all pension and welfare recipients and open Croatian pension offices in the region; ensure further economic reintegration; initiate a country-wide public programme of national reconciliation and curb media attacks on ethnic groups; and implement fairly the Amnesty law and cooperate fully with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

In that context, the Council noted recent information provided by the Croatian Government on intended steps to address some of those issues and urged it to implement those steps without delay.

The Council emphasized that prompt completion of the tasks outlined in its statement and the fulfilment by the Government of its obligations under relevant agreements would determine the pace of further devolution to the Croatian Government of executive authority for the civilian administration, as well as further Council action. It urged all parties to cooperate fully with the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES).


Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6419 3818th Meeting (PM) 18 September 1997

Under its resolution 1120 (1997) of 14 July, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General's plan for the gradual devolution of executive responsibility for civil administration in the region by UNTAES. It also endorsed his plan for a restructuring of UNTAES to that end as set out in his report of 23 June (document S/1997/487). The pace of devolution would be commensurate with Croatia's demonstrated ability to reassure the Serb population and to successfully complete reintegration.

Also this afternoon, the President expressed the Council's sympathy to the Governments and people of Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States and to the families of the victims of the tragic crash of a United Nations helicopter which was carrying members of the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He said the Council wished the survivors a full and speedy recovery.

The meeting, which was called to order at 5:05 p.m. was adjourned at 5:12 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1997/45, reads as follows:

"The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the lack of substantial progress by the Government of the Republic of Croatia in fulfilling the conditions and tasks that are key to the transfer of executive authority to the Republic of Croatia in the territories of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, as noted in its resolution 1120 (1997) and the 23 June 1997 report of the Secretary-General (S/1997/487).

"In this regard, the Security Council calls upon the Croatian Government to meet its obligations and commitments and to take immediate action in the following areas: to remove all administrative and legal obstacles to the two- way return of all displaced persons as well as to the return of refugees; to ensure security and social and economic opportunity including property rights for all returnees; to take effective measures to prevent harassment of returnees; to implement measures to establish effective local government administrations; to ensure the regular payment of benefits to all pension and welfare recipients and open Croatian pension offices in the region; to ensure further economic reintegration; to initiate a country-wide public programme of national reconciliation and curb media attacks on ethnic groups; and to implement fully and fairly the Amnesty law and cooperate fully with the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In this context, the


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6419 3818th Meeting (PM) 18 September 1997

Security Council notes the recent information provided by the Croatian Government on intended steps to address some of these issues and urges the Croatian Government to implement these steps without delay.

"The Security Council emphasizes that the prompt completion of the tasks outlined above, as well as the fulfilment by the Croatian Government of its obligations under the Basic Agreement (S/1995/951), the agreements between the Croatian Government and the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), as well as the letter of the Croatian Government of 13 January 1997 (S/1997/27, annex) will determine the pace of further devolution of executive authority for the civil administration to the Croatian Government as well as further Council action. The Council urges all parties to cooperate fully with UNTAES and looks forward to the report of the Secretary-General due no later than 6 October 1997, as requested in its resolution 1120 (1997)."

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