14 May 1998


Press Release
SC/6515



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF MISSION OF OBSERVERS IN TAJIKISTAN UNTIL 15 NOVEMBER

19980514

By Resolution 1167 (1998), Adopted Unanimously, Council Calls for Vigorous Efforts to Implement General Agreement

Expressing concern at the precarious security situation in some parts of Tajikistan, the Security Council this morning decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for a further six months, until 15 November.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1167 (1998), the Council called upon the parties involved -- the Government of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) -- to undertake vigorous efforts to implement fully the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, which was signed on 27 June 1997, including the Protocol on military issues. It also called on the parties involved to create conditions for the holding of elections at the earliest possible time.

The Council also called on the parties, with the involvement of UNMOT and the Contact Group of Guarantor States, to implement the timetable of measures adopted by the Commission on National Reconciliation on 29 April. Most notable of the measures, as a matter of priority, were the implementation of the Protocol on military issues, the appointment of UTO representatives to the remaining government positions allocated to them and the implementation of the amnesty law.

It condemned renewed fighting in violation of the ceasefire resulting from attacks initiated by local UTO commanders, and called on all concerned to refrain from acts of violence. The parties were also called upon to intensify their efforts to bring into operation, as soon as possible, a joint security unit to provide security for UNMOT personnel, and to cooperate further in ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of personnel of the United Nations, the peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States and other international personnel also serving in the country.

The Council called upon Member States and others concerned to respond promptly and generously to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan for 1998, launched in Geneva in March. It also expressed the hope that the meeting of the Consultative Group to be held by the World Bank on 20 May would bring positive results. Statements were made this morning by the representatives of Tajikistan, Russian Federation, China, Gambia, Japan, Kenya and the United States.

The meeting, which was called to order at 11:38 a.m., was adjourned at 12:13 p.m.


Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Tajikistan. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1998/374) in which he recommends an extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for a further six-month period until 15 November. The report brings up to date the record of developments in Tajikistan and UNMOT's activities since the Secretary-General's last report in February (document S/1998/113).

The Secretary-General states that during the last three months, the process has been disrupted by violence and has made only slow progress. It had become clear that the task of building confidence between the former adversaries was more difficult than anticipated. It would take longer than allowed for in the ambitious timetable of the peace agreement. As a result, he says it now seemed unlikely that elections could be held in 1998.

According to the report, such progress as had been made, notably the appointment of six representatives of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) to the national Government and the containment of the crises in March and late April/early May, indicated the interest of both sides to continue the peace process.

The report states that the security situation continued to give cause for concern. In addition to clashes, there were numerous incidents which, while not involving United Nations personnel, demonstrated the continuing volatility of the situation.

The report notes the signs of a growing realization that it was necessary to proceed in a balanced manner with the peace process, taking into account the priorities of both sides. The Secretary-General fully supported the approach adopted in that regard within the framework of the Contact Group of Guarantor States, which had identified a number of immediate objectives, notably the completion of the first phase of the military protocol and the appointment of UTO representatives to the remaining eight government positions to be filled by them. The Secretary-General observes that the contribution made by members of the Contact Group had been crucial to the peace process.

It was clear, he goes on, that comprehensive international support remained essential for the continuation of that process, which had been very slow in the past three months. The UNMOT and the other members of the United Nations system, as well as the Contact Group, provided much- needed impetus and helped stabilize the situation during crises.

In addition, there was a need for financial assistance to help Tajikistan on the path of reform and development, says the report. A consolidated appeal for Tajikistan was launched in Geneva in March for a total of $34.6 million for 1998, and the World Bank is organizing a Joint Consultative Group meeting in Paris on 20 May to mobilize resources for development from both bilateral donors and international financial institutions.

The proposed budget for the maintenance of UNMOT from 1 July 1998 to 30 June 1999 (document A/52/772/Add.2) is currently under consideration by the General Assembly, according to the report. The cost of maintaining the Mission for 12 months is estimated at $22,282,100 gross. On 31 March, the General Assembly appropriated a total of $15 million gross for UNMOT's expansion for the period from 1 July 1997 to 30 June 1998, which includes the amount of $8,275,700 gross appropriated earlier by the Assembly.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/390), the text of which 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 6 May 1998 (S/1998/374),

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

"Expressing regret that during the past three months progress in the peace process has been very slow,

"Expressing concern at the precarious security situation in some parts of Tajikistan,

"Expressing further concern at violations of the ceasefire in Tajikistan,

"Welcoming the intensified contacts between the leaderships of the Government of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) which helped to contain the crises in the period covered by the report of the Secretary-General and confirmed the commitment of both parties to the peace process,

"Recognizing that comprehensive international support remains essential for the intensification of the peace process in Tajikistan,

"Welcoming the maintenance of close contact by the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) with the parties, as well as its cooperative liaison with the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS Peacekeeping Forces), the Russian border forces and the Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,

"Welcoming further the contribution of the Contact Group of Guarantor States and International Organizations to the peace process,

"1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 6 May 1998;

"2. Condemns renewed fighting in violation of the ceasefire resulting from attacks initiated by some local UTO commanders, and calls upon all concerned to refrain from acts of violence;

"3. Calls upon the parties to undertake vigorous efforts to implement fully the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510), including the Protocol on military issues (S/1997/209, annex II), and to create conditions for the holding of elections at the earliest possible time;

"4. Calls upon the parties, with the involvement of UNMOT and the Contact Group, to implement the timetable of measures adopted by the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) on 29 April 1998, notably, and as a matter of priority, the implementation of the Protocol on military issues and the appointment of UTO representatives to the remaining government positions allocated to them, as well as the implementation of the amnesty law;

"5. Notes with appreciation the work of the retiring Special Representative of the Secretary-General, commends the efforts of all the personnel of UNMOT and encourages them to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement;

"6. Calls upon the parties to intensify their efforts to bring into operation as soon as possible a joint security unit tasked with providing security for UNMOT personnel, and 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;

"7. Encourages UNMOT and the CIS Peacekeeping Forces to continue discussion of options for improving security cooperation;

"8. Calls upon Member States and others concerned to respond promptly and generously to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan for 1998 launched in Geneva in March 1998, and expresses the hope that the meeting of the

Consultative Group to be held by the World Bank on 20 May 1998 will bring positive results;

"9. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMOT for a period of six months until 15 November 1998;

"10. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of all significant developments, in particular regarding the security situation, and also requests him to report within three months of the adoption of this resolution on its implementation;

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

Statements

RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said that today's meeting was of extraordinary importance for stepping up the peace process in Tajikistan. As such, the President of Tajikistan expressed his profound gratitude to the Security Council and to the Secretary-General for their constant attention to the problems of settlement and solidarity during that difficult post-conflict building period.

The Secretary-General's conclusions regarding the need for comprehensive international support for the peace process while rendering financial assistance for development had inspired the hope that the United Nations and its specialized agencies would continue to contribute to the stabilization of the situation and would vigorously promote economic and social restoration. The meeting to be convened next week in Paris by the World Bank would also play an important role in strengthening the peace process.

He said that the international community's assistance to his Government's efforts to further stabilize the situation in his country was particularly important now when there were still "embers of mistrust glowing in the ashes of the civil conflict". It was those embers which sparked recent tension resulting, once again, in the loss of life. His Government had expressed profound concern over the local conflicts, which were initiated by field commanders of United Tajik Opposition.

Continuing, he said his Government fully shared the United Nations assessment of those events. It was no secret that those recent incidences were initiated by those whose natural environment was lawlessness and chaos. Moreover, they were a clear demonstration of the death rattle of those few forces that had not yet freed themselves of the illusion that they could undermine the General Agreement, and drag the country anew into fratricidal war.

Indeed, there was no reasonable alternative to the peace agreement, and his Government was unswerving in its dedication to further the peace process, he said. Much had changed in the year since the signing of the peace agreement, and despite the unjustifiable delays in implementing the key military aspects of the agreement, implementation was slowly but unswervingly moving forward. The UNMOT played an important role in Tajikistan, and the Government had a high assessment of the personal efforts of the Secretary-General's special representative, who promoted the breakthrough in the settlement and the signing of the General Agreement. The Government would continue its constructive cooperation with UNMOT in its efforts to render effective assistance in implementing the peace agreement.

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the peace process had moved forward following the signing of the General Agreement. At the same time, the implementation of key questions of reintegration, disarmament, and the dismantling of armed units were experiencing delays. Emphasis on the political aspects of peace was to the detriment of military aspects, resulting in dangerous complications in a number of regions. The draft resolution reflected the need for a balanced approach to the implementation of the General Agreement.

The recent numerous casualties demonstrated the fragility of peace in the country, he said. Russian leaders had discussed in detail the settlement problems with the Secretary-General during his recent visit to Moscow. There was no alternative to the Moscow agreement, and only their timely implementation could lead to a real resolution. The views of the Security Council and the Secretary- General concerning the need for comprehensive support of the peace process underscored the important role played by UNMOT and the Contact Group. The upcoming meeting of donors convened by the World Bank on 20 May in Paris should help promote economic stabilization and rebirth in Tajikistan. The collective peacekeeping forces could be more effective by assisting the implementation of the General Agreement. His Government would do all that was necessary to prevent a thwarting of the agreement.

SHEN GUOFANG (China), stating that he would vote in favour of the draft, said China supported the peace process in Tajikistan and advocated an active United Nations role in promoting peace and reconciliation there, including the further extension of UNMOT's mandate. The two parties should maintain the spirit of reconciliation and undertake measures to enhance mutual confidence with a view to an early conclusion of the tasks of the General Agreement. Effective implementation of the new timetable would reinforce mutual trust and confidence.

The international community should support those efforts, and at the same time, should increase financial assistance to Tajikistan for its economic rehabilitation, he said. Only rehabilitation and development would ensure a stable peace and security there. China looked forward to the early appointment of the Secretary-General's new special representative to ensure the continuation of efforts towards definitive peace and reconciliation.

MAUDO TOURAY (Gambia) said his delegation was seriously concerned about the lack of substantial progress in resolving the conflict in Tajikistan, which was mainly due to the mistrust that existed between the parties. The Gambia strongly condemned recent resumption of hostilities between the parties, and welcomed the new ceasefire arrangement and the exchange of prisoners. The parties should exercise restraint and ensure that the peace process was not jeopardized.

Stating that speedy demobilization and reorganization of the forces involved in the conflict was vital to the return of peace to Tajikistan, he welcomed the continued registration of UTO combatants. It was disturbing that there were discrepancies between the number of fighters registered and the number of weapons recovered. That clearly showed that a large number of registered fighters were still keeping their weapons. The recovery of those weapons was important for the peace process.

MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said it was regrettable that despite the efforts of UNMOT to promote peace in Tajikistan, progress had been slow in the past three months and that the security situation remained precarious. Japan was concerned that recent violations of the ceasefire had lowered mutual confidence between the Government and the UTO. Japan called on both parties to redouble their efforts to fully implement the General Agreement, particularly the Protocol on military issues.

He said the presence of the United Nations observers was still necessary to make the ceasefire truly effective and to facilitate the implementation of the General Agreement. Comprehensive international support, including financial assistance, was essential for the continuation of the peace process and for reform and development of the Tajik society.

NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said the extension of UNMOT's mandate by another six months was an affirmation of the commitment of the international community to the peaceful settlement of the military and political crisis that Tajikistan still faced. The General Agreement constituted a viable framework within which the people of Tajikistan could work to establish lasting peace, security and prosperity for all. A vigorous and sustained process of national reconciliation must be put in place.

He said there was a clear linkage between peace, security and development. Kenya was encouraged that quick action was being taken to address some of the post-conflict economic issues facing Tajikistan, at the consultative group meeting to be held by the World Bank on 20 May. Member States should respond promptly to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan launched last March. Kenya welcomed efforts being made by the Government of Tajikistan and the UTO to address not only the day-to-day security problems but also the long-term goal of sustaining a viable peace process.

Action on Draft

The Council adopted the text as resolution 1167 (1998).

Speaking after the action, BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said that while the United States was pleased at the signing of the agreement to end the conflict in Tajikistan, it was concerned that the peace process had lost its momentum. Despite positive developments, Tajikistan was experiencing "round after round of violence and disruption". The United States' vote in favour of extending UNMOT's mandate was a sign of its continued faith in the peace process. However, its willingness to support a "broken process" was not infinite. While the international community wanted to give the parties time to establish an enduring peace, the parties must recognize that they alone held the responsibility for moving the process forward. In that context, the Government must implement its obligation to appoint UTO members to 30 per cent of government positions, and it must act rapidly to implement the provisions of the amnesty law. Those actions must be undertaken unconditionally, regardless of actions by the UTO.

He said that despite the commitment by the UTO leaders to demobilize and disarm their forces, several instances of renewed combat had begun in the last few months when UTO forces attacked Government positions. The UTO commanders could not resort to violence in response to any disagreement with Government activities. They must take responsibility for the actions of all UTO field commanders and order them to abide by the military protocol, including assembling, registering and disarming. If necessary, they should work with the Government towards that end, for the peace process could not survive outbreaks of such violence.

The agreed timetable, while ambitious, was still achievable, he said. The parties must expeditiously implement the first phase of the military protocol. They should also be thinking ahead, to how to move on towards legalizing political parties and preparing for elections. In the meantime, they had a responsibility for ensuring the security of UNMOT, foreign diplomatic missions and international personnel.

As a sign of the United States' interest in the success of Tajikistan's peace process, it had pledged significant assistance and had abided by those pledges, he said. All Member States should step forward with donations to guarantee the process, and relieve the continuing humanitarian crisis and the threat of landmines.

* *** *