24 February 1998


Press Release
SC/6480



SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR INTENSIFIED EFFORTS TO IMPLEMENT PEACE AGREEMENT IN TAJIKISTAN

19980224
Presidential Statement Reiterates Concern About Security Situation, Condemns November Hostage-Taking

The Security Council this afternoon called upon the parties in Tajikistan -- the Government and the United Tajik Opposition -- to intensify their efforts to fully implement the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord, which they signed on 27 June 1997.

Through a statement read out by its President, Denis Dangue Rewaka (Gabon), the Council also encouraged the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) to continue its efforts to institute a broad dialogue among the various political forces, as foreseen in the General Agreement.

The Council commended the Special Representative of the Secretary- General and the personnel of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for their work and encouraged them to continue assisting the parties to implement the General Agreement.

Reiterating its concern about the precarious security situation in the country, the Council firmly condemned last November's hostage-taking of relief workers and urged the parties to cooperate in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of personnel of the United Nations, the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other international personnel.

The Council reminded the parties that the international community's ability to continue to assist in the implementation of the General Agreement, as well as in humanitarian and rehabilitation programmes, was linked to improvements in security conditions. It welcomed the presidential decree establishing a joint security unit for UNMOT personnel and called on the parties to make the unit operational as soon as possible.

The Council encouraged the Secretary-General to continue UNMOT's expansion to its authorized strength as soon as he deemed the conditions appropriate.


The meeting, which was called to order at 4:31 p.m., was adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1998/4, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the progress report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 10 February 1998 (S/1998/113), submitted pursuant to paragraph 12 of its resolution 1138 (1997) of 14 November 1997.

"The Security Council regrets that during the last three months work on the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510) and the relevant activities of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) have proceeded very slowly. It welcomes recent efforts made by the parties in order to fulfil their obligations. The Council calls upon them to intensify their efforts to implement fully the General Agreement, including the Protocol on military issues (S/1997/209, annex II). It also encourages the CNR to continue its efforts aimed at the institution of a broad dialogue among the various political forces as foreseen in the General Agreement.

"The Security Council commends the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the personnel of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for their work and encourages them to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement. It welcomes the results of the international donor conference in support of peace and reconciliation in Tajikistan convened by the Secretary-General in Vienna on 24 and 25 November 1997, and looks forward to the contribution of those results to consolidating the peace process in Tajikistan.

"The Security Council reiterates its concern that the Security situation in some parts of Tajikistan remains precarious. It reminds both parties that the international community is ready to continue assisting in the implementation of the General Agreement as well as in humanitarian and rehabilitation programmes, but that its ability to do so and also the ability of UNMOT to carry out its tasks more effectively is linked to improvements in security conditions.

"The Security Council firmly condemns the hostage-taking of relief workers that took place in November 1997 and urges the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the Collective Peace-keeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS Peace-keeping Forces), and other international


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6480 3856th Meeting (PM) 24 February 1998

personnel, and to take practical steps in this respect, such as those mentioned in paragraph 7 of the report of the Secretary-General.

"The Security Council welcomes the presidential decree establishing a joint security unit with the task of providing security, including armed escort, for UNMOT personnel and calls upon the parties to make the unit operational as soon as possible. It also welcomes the readiness of the CIS Peace-keeping Forces to arrange for the guarding of United Nations premises in Dushanbe, as mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General, and encourages UNMOT and the CIS Peace-keeping Forces to make the relevant detailed arrangements.

"The Security Council encourages the Secretary-General to continue the expansion of UNMOT to the strength authorized by its resolution 1138 (1997) as the Secretary-General deems conditions appropriate."

Secretary-General's Report

When the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it a progress report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (document S/1998/113) and the situation there since his last report of 5 November 1997 (document S/1997/859).

The Secretary-General says that implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan had continued at a slow pace and much of the attention of the parties had continued to be absorbed by the question of the senior government posts to be allocated to the United Tajik Opposition (UTO), "an issue that has dogged them for several months". "While it was understood it was a difficult process that required striking a delicate balance between the two camps, "the time has come for resolving this matter". Intensive discussion had continued on the allocation of the senior government posts, and the UTO had submitted its list of candidates, with agreement being reached on only some of them.

The Secretary-General expresses the hope that for the remainder of the mandate period, which expires 15 May, there would be practical work and tangible progress on such matters as the reintegration of the UTO fighters, the revision of the Constitution and adoption of new laws. He encourages the CNR to launch the broad dialogue among the various political forces, including those not represented in the Commission, as foreseen in the General Agreement. The aim, he says, should be to create equal opportunities for all citizens to participate in the political life of the country and to establish the conditions for free and fair elections as soon as possible.

The Secretary-General's report notes that security had remained precarious, especially in the greater Dushanbe area and between Dushanbe and


Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6480 3856th Meeting (PM) 24 February 1998

Komsomolabad. The level of criminal activity was high and there were numerous reports of civilians being harassed at government and UTO checkpoints. The ceasefire between the two sides held, with the exception of a confrontation between police and UTO personnel east of Dushanbe on 6 January.

The Secretary-General states that the safety of United Nations personnel continued to be a major preoccupation. The United Nations must, therefore, seek to limit the risks for its personnel to the extent possible. More than 70 per cent of the international staff serving with humanitarian relief programmes had been relocated to the north of Tajikistan and to other countries. Several non-governmental organizations had suspended their activities.

The report goes on to say that the Secretary-General had approved the concentration of United Nations offices and, in particular, of the private accommodations of United Nations personnel in Dushanbe in a small number of well-guarded premises. In accordance with their mandate, the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CIS had declared their readiness to arrange for the security of the United Nations premises in Dushanbe. The detailed arrangements were being made between UNMOT and the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CIS.

The Secretary-General also reports on an international donor conference, in support of peace and reconciliation in Tajikistan, which was hosted by the Government of Austria on 24 and 25 November 1997 in Vienna. A total of $95 million was pledged, much of that for humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance programmes. Pledges of approximately $39 million were related specifically to activities directly concerned with the implementation of the inter-Tajik agreements, such as political reconciliation and democratization, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants.

* *** *