13 January 1998


Press Release
SC/6467



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNMOP UNTIL 15 JULY

19980113

The Security Council this morning authorized the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), which consists of 28 military observers, to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula until 15 July.

Through its unanimous adoption of resolution 1147 (1998), the Council reiterated its call upon the parties to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations designated zones, to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers and to ensure their safety and freedom of movement.

The Council urged the parties to abide by their mutual commitments and to implement fully the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 23 August 1996. It also urged the parties to take concrete steps towards a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in accordance with that Agreement.

While welcoming steps undertaken by the parties in adopting the practical options proposed by the military observers to reduce tension and improve safety and security in the area, the Council called upon the parties to make further progress in that regard.

Also by the text, the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit to it by 5 July a report on the situation in the Prevlaka peninsula and in particular on progress made by the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia towards a settlement which would peacefully resolve their differences.

The meeting, called to order at 11:19 a.m., was adjourned at 11.26 a.m.


Resolution Adopted

The text of resolution 1147 (1998) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its earlier relevant resolutions, and in particular its resolutions 779 (1992) of 6 October 1992, 981 (1995) of 31 March 1995, 1025 (1995) of 30 November 1995, 1038 (1996) of 15 January 1996, 1066 (1996) of 15 July 1996, 1093 (1997) of 14 January 1997 and 1119 (1997) of 14 July 1997,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 30 December 1997 (S/1997/1019) and welcoming the positive developments noted therein,

"Reaffirming once again its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia,

"Noting again the Joint Declaration signed at Geneva on 30 September 1992 by the Presidents of the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular Article 3, which reaffirmed their agreement concerning the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, and emphasizing the contribution that this demilitarization has made to the decrease of tension in the region,

"Noting with concern continued long-term violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations designated zones in the region, but welcoming a decrease in the number of violations,

"Welcoming the first substantial progress in implementing the practical options proposed by the United Nations military observers in May 1996, as referred to in the report of the Secretary-General of 31 December 1996 (S/1996/1075),

"Noting with concern that there has been no progress towards a settlement of the disputed issued of Prevlaka through mutual negotiations,

"Recalling the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia signed in Belgrade on 23 August 1996, committing the parties to settle peacefully the disputed issue of Prevlaka by negotiations in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and good neighbourly relations, and stressing the need for the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to agree on a settlement which would peacefully resolve their differences,

"Noting that the presence of the United Nations military observers continues to be essential to maintain conditions that are conducive to a negotiated settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka,


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6467 3847th Meeting (AM) 13 January 1998

"1. Authorizes the United Nations military observers to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, in accordance with resolutions 779 (1992) and 981 (1995) and paragraphs 19 and 20 of the report of the Secretary-General of 13 December 1995 (S/1995/1028*), until 15 July 1998;

"2. Welcomes steps undertaken by the parties in adopting the practical options proposed by United Nations military observers to reduce tension and improve safety and security in the area, and calls upon the parties to make further progress in this regard;

"3. Reiterates its call upon the parties to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations designated zones, to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers and to ensure their safety and freedom of movement;

"4. Urges the parties to abide by their mutual commitments and to implement fully the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 23 August 1996;

"5. Expresses its support for the commitment by the parties to a negotiated resolution of the disputed issues of Prevlaka in accordance with article 4 of the aforementioned Agreement;

"6. Urges the parties to take concrete steps towards a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in good faith and without delay;

"7. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council by 5 July 1998 a report on the situation in the Prevlaka peninsula and in particular on progress made by the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia towards a settlement which would peacefully resolve their differences;

"8. Requests the United Nations military observers and the multinational stabilization force authorized by the Council in resolution 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996 to cooperate fully with each other;

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

Report of Secretary-General

The Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1997/1019) recommending a further six-month extension of the mandate of UNMOP until 15 July. The Secretary-General appeals to Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia once again to commence substantive talks. Should they so wish, he says the whole set of instruments of the United Nations was at their disposal to assist in the search for a peaceful settlement.


Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6467 3847th Meeting (AM) 13 January 1998

The report states that the unresolved dispute over the Prevlaka peninsula continued to obstruct progress towards opening the international border crossing at Debeli Brijeg, inside the UNMOP area of responsibility. The parties continued to indicate their divergent interpretations of that dispute, with Croatia seeing it as a security issue, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a territorial question.

The Secretary-General observes that the long-standing violations of the demilitarized regime in the United Nations controlled zone (the so-called "Blue Zone") continued, caused by the presence of approximately 30 Croatian Special Police, located at two positions and one checkpoint, and of approximately six Yugoslav (Montenegrin) Border Police, located at one position and one checkpoint.

The most significant long-standing violation in the demilitarized zone (the so-called "Yellow Zone") was, according to the report, the continuing presence of Yugoslav Army troops in the north-western part. Owing to the restriction imposed by the Yugoslav authorities on the movement of United Nations military observers in that area, UNMOP had not been able to ascertain the strength and armament of those Yugoslav Army troops.

The report states that UNMOP plays an essential role in maintaining conditions conducive to negotiations and that recent developments at other parts of the border between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia gave grounds for hope that they could solve the disputed issue of the Prevlaka peninsula through mutual negotiations. Until then, they had agreed to respect the existing security regime established through United Nations monitoring.

Compliance with the practical options proposed by UNMOP had lessened tensions, according to the report, which also states that the parties had continued to reiterate their firm commitment to a negotiated resolution of the Prevlaka question. On the other hand, substantive negotiations had not started and, in discussions with UNMOP, Croatia and Yugoslav officials had held out no prospect of an end to the long-term violations in the United Nations controlled zone.

The Chief Military Observer had assessed that those and other violations of the demilitarization regime did not threaten stability in the UNMOP area of responsibility and did not prevent UNMOP from carrying out its mandate, the Secretary-General states. However, together with the continuing divergence of views on the exact delimitation of the United Nations controlled and demilitarized zones, they provided a constant irritant in the relations between UNMOP and the local authorities. That irritant should be removed, the report adds.

The UNMOP, established on 1 February 1996, consists of 28 United Nations military observers, headed by the Chief Military Observer, Colonel Harold Mwakio Tangai of Kenya.

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