15 July 1998


Press Release
SC/6549



COUNCIL AUTHORIZES UNITED NATIONS MILITARY OBSERVERS TO CONTINUE MONITORING PREVLAKA PENINSULA DEMILITARIZATION ZONE UNTIL 15 JANUARY 1999

19980715

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 1183 (1998)

The Security Council this afternoon authorized United Nations military observers to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula until 15 January 1999, and reiterated its call upon the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime there.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1183 (1998), the Council called upon the parties to take further steps to reduce tension and improve safety and security in the area. It reiterated its call for them to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers and to ensure their safety, and full and unrestricted freedom of movement.

By a related provision, the parties were urged to abide by their mutual commitments and to implement fully the August 1996 Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They were urged, in particular, to abide by their commitment to reach a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in accordance with that Agreement and they were called upon to engage promptly and constructively in negotiations.

In that regard, the Council noted the Secretary-General's positive assessment of recent developments, including the Croatian initiative for a final resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka. The Council also noted the proposal from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on a permanent settlement of the issue.

The Secretary-General was requested to submit to the Council by 15 October a report on the situation and, in particular, on progress made by the parties towards a peaceful settlement and, in that context, on the possible adaptation of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP).

The Council called for cooperation between the United Nations military observers and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led multinational Stabilization Force.

The meeting, which was called to order at 1:10 p.m., was adjourned at 1:14 p.m.


Council Work Programme

The Council met this afternoon to consider a report of the Secretary- General on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) (document S/1998/578) in which he recommends a six-month extension of the Mission's mandate. Also before the Council are proposals from the Government of Croatia and from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), respectively, on how to resolve the continuing dispute between those countries over the Prevlaka peninsula.

The 15 June proposal by Croatia (document S/1998/533) recommends the establishment of a joint Croatian-Yugoslav commission to identify and mark the international borders in the disputed area. The 10 July proposal from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document S/1998/632) calls for the establishment of a joint Yugoslav-Croatian commission to facilitate compliance with provisions of the August 1996 Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia concerning the delineation on land and at sea in the disputed area.

Secretary-General's Report

The Secretary-General expresses his hope that the Croatian proposal -- the first formal proposal for a final settlement of the disputed Prevlaka peninsula -- would provide a much-needed impetus for the start of negotiations. The Secretary-General reports that both parties continued to indicate, in their contacts with UNMOP, that they retained their divergent interpretations of the Prevlaka dispute, the report finds. For Croatia, it was a security issue, whereas the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia regarded it as a territorial issue.

The Secretary-General urged Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to engage in substantive talks towards the resolution of the disputed issue. Since UNMOP had played an essential role in maintaining conditions conducive to negotiations, a further extension of its mandate was recommended.

The Secretary-General observes that the UNMOP area of responsibility had not been disrupted by any serious incidents since his last report of 30 December 1997. That area consisted of two United Nations-designated zones: a demilitarized zone and a United Nations-controlled zone. Both Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia maintained their somewhat differing views on the exact delimitation of the zones.

The report states that while the situation in the area of responsibility remained stable, there were no signs that the parties would cease violations of the demilitarization regime, including restricting the movement of United Nations military observers and the continued presence of military elements. While such violations did not threaten the area's stability, they, together


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with the continuing differences on the exact delimitation of the two United Nations-designated zones, continued to irritate relations between UNMOP and the local authorities.

Nonetheless, UNMOP continued to assist in resolving potentially destabilizing disputes. As the military threat had decreased, there were increased difficulties of a civilian nature, such as claims by local landowners and fishermen to make commercial use of parts of the United Nations-controlled zone. The Mission had avoided prejudging the outcome of bilateral political negotiations on the Prevlaka dispute, in accordance with both parties' commitments to respect the security regime established through United Nations pending mutual agreement.

The report states that although UNMOP was an independent mission, for administrative and budgetary purposes it was treated as part of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). Thus, the costs of maintaining it would be met from within UNMIBH's budget. The UNMOP, established on 1 February 1996, consists of 28 United Nations military observers, headed by a Chief Military Observer, Colonel Harold Mwakio Tangai (Kenya). Annexed to the report is the composition and strength of the Mission's military elements as at 26 June.

Details of Croatian Proposal

By other terms of the Croatian initiative, the parties would agree that in order to achieve full security of the part of the territory of Croatia in the area of Dubrovnik and the part of the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the area of the Boka Kotorska Bay, the Agreement on Normalization of Relations would permanently resolve the issue.

Further by the text, the international border would be identified and marked by a joint Croatian-Yugoslav commission for regulating the southern border between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The working methods and composition of the joint commission would be defined.

The proposal recommends agreement by the parties to open the border crossing points at Debeli Brijeg and Konfin in the interest of creating conditions for better cooperation, freedom of movement and overall economic development along the southern border area between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The categorization of those border crossing points would be regulated at a later date.

Also by the text, the delimitation at sea between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia would be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. They would agree to carry out demilitarization within a zone two kilometres deep from the international frontier towards the interior of their respective territories. Croatia would agree to temporary asymmetrical


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demilitarization to a distance of five kilometres from the frontier towards the interior of the Republic for a period of five years.

For the purposes of supervision, the proposal calls for the parties to provide one another direct access to information about the implementation of the demilitarization regime, the modalities of which would be regulated by an annex to the present agreement.

The agreement would enter into force on the date of exchange of notifications through diplomatic channels certifying its ratification by the competent authorities of the parties, and it would be implemented on an interim basis from the date of its signing.

Proposal of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

By the remaining terms of the proposal, the Contracting Parties would undertake the following:

-- To agree that the Pevlaka area would be used solely for peaceful purposes; -- To regulate this matter, including the possibility of permanent demilitarization, through specific arrangements in accordance with international law; -- To agree to establish a permanent border-crossing point for international road transport along the Heceg Novi-Sutorina-Dubrovnik motorway, to be regulated by an amendment to the agreement on border-crossing points; -- To agree that a border traffic regime be established for specific counties from the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia within the Republic of Montenegro and from the territory of the Republic of Croatia, to be regulated by an amendment to the agreement on border traffic.

The agreement would be applied from the date of its signature and it would enter into force after the parties notified each other through diplomatic channels that it had been approved by their respective authorities.

Draft Resolution

The Council has before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/642), sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its earlier relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 779 (1992) of 6 October 1992, 981 (1995) of 31 March 1995 and 1147 (1998) of 13 January 1998,


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"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 26 June 1998 (S/1998/578) and noting the positive assessment in the Secretary-General's report of recent developments, including the initiative by the Republic of Croatia (S/1998/533, Annex) for a final resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka,

"Noting also the proposal by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S/1998/632, Annex), on the permanent settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka,

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

"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,

"Concerned, however, at the continued long-standing violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations designated zones in the region and the failure of the parties to improve their compliance with the demilitarization regime as recommended by the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka, including important demining activities within the demilitarized area, and by continued restrictions on the freedom of movement of its personnel within their area of responsibility,

"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 (S/1998/706, Annex), 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 deeply concerned at the lack of significant progress towards such a settlement,

"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,

"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/1991/1028*), until 15 January 1999;

"2. Calls upon the parties to take further steps to reduce tension and improve safety and security in the area;


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"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 full and unrestricted freedom of movement, and calls upon them to complete promptly the demining of the area;

"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, in particular their commitment to reach a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in accordance with article 4 of the Agreement, and calls upon them to engage promptly and constructively in negotiations;

"5. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council by 15 October 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, and in this context on the possible adaptation of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka;

"6. Requests the United Nations military observers and the multinational stabilization force authorized by the Council in resolution 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996 and extended by resolution 1174 (1998) of 15 June 1998 to cooperate fully with each other;

"7. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

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