21 July 1998


Press Release
SC/6554



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF UNPREDEP UNTIL 28 FEBRUARY 1999 AND INCREASES TROOP STRENGTH

19980721

Reaffirming its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Security Council this afternoon decided to extend the current mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) for a further six months until 28 February 1999 and authorized an increase in its troop strength up to 1,050.

By the terms of resolution 1186 (1998), adopted unanimously, UNPREDEP would continue by its presence to deter threats and prevent clashes, and to monitor the border areas. The mission would also report to the Secretary- General any developments which could threaten the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, including on illicit arms flows and other activities that were prohibited under resolution 1160 (1998).

By resolution 1160 (1998), the Council decided to ban the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related matériel of all types, including weapons and munitions, military vehicles and equipment and spare parts for them. It also decided that States shall prevent arming and training for terrorist activities there.

According to today's text, the Council expressed its intention to consider further the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his report of 14 July. In that report, he recommended increasing the strength of the military observers and the civilian police elements of the Force by an additional 12 and 24 personnel, respectively, in order to intensify community and border patrols, as well as to monitor and report on the situation at border crossings.

Statements were made by the representatives of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Austria on behalf of the European Union and associated States, Sweden, Slovenia, Japan, Brazil, China, United States and the Russian Federation.

The meeting, which was called to order at 12:15 p.m., was adjourned at 12:52 p.m.


Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It had before it reports of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) (documents S/1998/644 of 14 July and S/1998/454 and Corr.1 of 1 June).

In his reports, the Secretary-General states that the Council may wish to consider extending the mandate of UNPREDEP for a further six months, until 28 February 1999; increase its troop level by 350 all ranks; and strengthen the military observers and civilian police elements, by 12 and 24 personnel, respectively.

By resolution 1142 (1997) of 4 December 1997, the Security Council decided on 4 December 1997 to extend the mandate of the Force for the final period until 31 August 1998. In his June report -- which includes information on developments in the mission area since his last report in 20 November (document S/1007/911) -- the Secretary-General states that it would seem premature to proceed with a decision to withdraw UNPREDEP after 31 August. He recommends a six-month extension.

The report finds that the fulfilment of the Force's mandated tasks along the borders with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have already stretched the reduced strength of the operation to the limit. As a result, following the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, UNPREDEP has not been able to maintain an extensive presence along that stretch of the border for a sustained period of time without jeopardizing implementation of its other tasks. Thus, with its current strength, any further escalation of the crisis in Kosovo could have negative operational consequences for the Force and undermine its impressive record of achievements. The Secretary-General states his intention to submit by 15 July specific proposals on a possible strengthening of the Force's overall capacity.

According to the July report, the majority of the recommended increase in the troop level, 230 in total, would be deployed at nine new permanently manned observation posts in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia along the Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and Albanian borders. The troops would, in accordance with resolution 795 (1992), monitor and report on developments in the border areas, including those developments that would have a bearing on the implementation of the relevant provisions of resolution 1160 (1998). By its terms, the Council banned the sale or supply of arms and related matériel to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, and sought to prevent the arming and training of terrorist activities there.

Also, a reserve of two platoons composed of approximately 60 soldiers would perform limited ground- and air-patrolling duties. The reserve would be centrally located and have sufficient capacity to react in a timely manner to


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

any developments requiring immediate attention. Because of the remote positions of observation posts and the difficult terrain in the mountainous border areas, particularly during harsh winter conditions, the reserve should be complemented by a 35-man medical unit and three helicopters to enable UNPREDEP to respond promptly to emergencies involving its personnel.

The military observer and the civilian police elements of the Force play an important role in confidence-building, the report continues. An increase in force levels would intensify community and border patrols, as well as monitoring and reporting of the situation at border crossing stations.

The Secretary-General states that should the Council agree to the increase in force levels, he will submit an addendum on the financial implications of his report as soon as possible.

The Secretary-General recalls that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a letter to him (document S/1998/627), reiterated his Government's recommendation for an extension of the UNPREDEP mandate for an additional six months, with the same mandate, structure and troop composition. The Government has endorsed the option of an eventual increase in the military, as well as the civilian police components. The Contact Group also supports the extension of the mandate, the Secretary- General adds.

In an earlier letter (document S/1998/401), the Foreign Minister referred to the changed circumstances in the region which, in his view, mitigate against any weakening of the international presence in the country. He expressed his Government's concern over the negative developments north of the border, especially in Kosovo, the yet unmarked border between the Republic and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the tensions along the border between Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Minister further expressed concern that, under those circumstances, the peace and stability of his country could be endangered and that a security gap would arise in the region should the military component of UNPREDEP be withdrawn after 31 August.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/668*), sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, the text of which reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its relevant resolutions concerning the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, in particular its resolutions 795 (1992) of 11 December 1992, in which it addressed possible developments which could undermine confidence and


Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

stability in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or threaten its territory, and 1142 (1997) of 4 December 1997,

"Recalling also its resolutions 1101 (1997) of 28 March 1997 and 1114 (1997) of 19 June 1997, in which it expressed its concern over the situation in Albania, and its resolution 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998, in which it decided that all States shall prevent the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related matériel of all types and shall prevent arming and training for terrorist activities there,

"Reiterating its appreciation for the important role played by the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability and paying tribute to its personnel in the performance of their mandate,

"Commending the role of UNPREDEP in monitoring the border areas and reporting to the Secretary-General on any developments which could pose a threat to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and by its presence deterring threats and preventing clashes, including monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows within its area of responsibility,

"Reiterating its call on the Governments of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to implement in full their agreement of 8 April 1996 (S/1996/291, annex), in particular regarding the demarcation of their mutual border,

"Taking note of the letters of 15 May 1998 (S/1998/401) and 9 July 1998 (S/1998/627) from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the Secretary-General, requesting the extension of the mandate of UNPREDEP and endorsing the option of an increase in its troop strength,

"Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General of 1 June 1998 (S/1998/454) and 14 July 1998 (S/1998/644) and the recommendations contained therein,

"Reaffirming its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,

"1. Decides to authorize an increase in the troop strength of UNPREDEP up to 1,050 and to extend the current mandate of UNPREDEP for a period of six months until 28 February 1999, including to continue by its presence to deter threats and prevent clashes, to monitor the border areas, and to report to the Secretary-General any developments which could pose a threat to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, including the tasks of monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows and other activities that are prohibited under resolution 1160 (1998);


Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

"2. Expresses its intention to consider further the recommendations of the Secretary-General in his report of 14 July 1998;

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

Statements SLOBADAN TASOVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said that the Council was about to take an important decision for the maintenance of peace and security in the region. As conveyed to the Secretary-General, his Government had endorsed the option of an eventual increase in the military component of the mission, maintaining the same mandate, structure and composition, especially taking into account the internal specifics of the country. A reinforcement of the civilian police could contribute to more efficient monitoring.

He said the assessment of the international community coincided with that of his Government concerning the situation in the region, as well as the situation on the northern and western borders of the country. The border situation was stable, and his Government undertook considerable efforts in its maintenance, especially in the present circumstances.

The mission had established excellent cooperation with his Government, especially with the Ministries of Defence and of Foreign Affairs, he said. It was generally viewed by the international community as one of the most successful United Nations missions.

The recommendations of the Secretary-General were welcome, especially the recommendation to extend the mandate for six months, beyond 31 August, he said. His Government was satisfied that all of its concerns had been very seriously considered by the members of the Security Council and were embodied in the text of the draft resolution.

ERNST SUCHARIPA (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia, and Iceland, said he supported the draft resolution before the Council. The Union had consistently supported UNPREDEP as an important part of the international peace effort in the region.

He said the European Union was deeply concerned about the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo, which posed a serious threat to regional peace and security. The Union fully supported the imposition of the arms embargo on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In that context, UNPREDEP would play an important role in monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows and other activities that were prohibited under Council resolution 1160 (1998). The increase of military observers and civilian police would be crucial to the discharge of UNPREDEP's mandate in view of the volatile and destabilizing situation created by the conflict in Kosovo.


Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

DANILO TÜRK (Slovenia) said that the mandate of UNPREDEP had been clear: to prevent spillover from the armed conflicts in other parts of the region. The mission had been initiated by the Government of Macedonia, a matter of considerable importance for its success. The UNPREDEP had played an outstanding role in the stabilization of the situation along Macedonia's northern and western borders, in deterring threats and preventing clashes and in generating dialogue among the ethnic communities in the country. Despite conflicts in the neighbouring areas, Macedonia had succeeded in maintaining its peace and stability.

He said the peace and stability in Macedonia continued to depend largely on developments in other parts of the region. The continued tension and conflict in the immediate vicinity of Macedonia could easily exacerbate its internal problems and could lead to the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations in the country. The UNPREDEP should, therefore, continue its vitally important mission.

HISASHI OWADA (Japan) said that while UNPREDEP had so far achieved impressive success in preventing the spillover of conflicts elsewhere in the region to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the current situation in Kosovo caused serious concern in terms of regional peace and security. In that context, the Secretary-General's recommendation to extend the mission's mandate for an additional six months was especially welcome.

He said UNPREDEP, with its increased strength, would have sufficient capability to play a significant role in a comprehensive regime to monitor the implementation of the arms embargo set out by Security Council resolution 1160 (1998). The effective prevention of an influx of weapons and armed personnel to Kosovo Albanians was as important as the pressure to the authorities in Belgrade towards ending the violence in Kosovo.

In reiterating Japan's position concerning the Kosovo crisis, he said, the authorities in Belgrade must cease all actions by the security forces affecting the civilian population. They must enable unimpeded international monitoring in Kosovo and facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes. They must also progress substantively in the dialogue with the Kosovo Albanian leadership. At the same time, the Kosovo Albanians, who shared the responsibility for the immediate end to the hostilities, must clearly reject all violent and terrorist acts. A political dialogue was unlikely to take root if violence continued to be espoused by members of the Kosovo Albanian community.

CELSO L.N. AMORIM (Brazil) said the instability across the northern border of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia argued in favour of the continued deployment of UNPREDEP. The tasks ascribed to UNPREDEP in the resolution before the Council included monitoring the border areas and reporting on any developments that could threaten the former Yugoslav Republic


Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

of Macedonia, including reporting on illicit arms flows and other activities that were prohibited under resolution 1160 (1998). He noted that the authorities in Skopje had informed the Committee established to monitor the arms embargo that they had taken steps to implement resolution 1160 (1998). He recalled that the resolution placed particular emphasis on cooperation by neighbouring countries concerning the establishment of a monitoring régime. It was natural to envisage a role for UNPREDEP in that regard.

He welcomed statements by the Governments of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia calling for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis. It was a sign of moderation that might hopefully be followed in the region so that all peoples in the Balkans would have the chance to reconstruct their lives in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance. Consideration of UNPREDEP's future and of the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by the Council would benefit from as clear and precise information as could be made available on the impact that different diplomatic initiatives were having on the stabilization of the areas beyond its borders.

QIN HAUSUN (China) said that United Nations peacekeeping operations should have a proper beginning and a proper end. However, taking into account the request of the Macedonian Government, as well as the concerned expressed by regional countries, China would not object to a further extension of UNPREDEP's mandate. While China supported assisting in the maintenance of stability and security, the international community should respect Macedonia's political independence and sovereignty.

He hoped the adjustment of the mission's mandate enabling it to assume monitoring responsibilities along border areas would effectively contain illicit arms flows and terrorist activities. In the light of the overall intent of the international community to maintain peace and stability, China would vote in favour of the draft. That vote, however, did not constitute any change in its principled position with regard to Security Council resolutions 1101 (1997), 1114 (1997) and 1160 (1998), as referred to in the draft.

NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said that despite its success, UNPREDEP's mission was not over. In nearby Kosovo, Belgrade had failed to fulfil the calls of the international community to cease attacks against the civilian population, return forces to barracks and begin meaningful negotiations on an enhanced status and a substantially greater degree of autonomy for Kosovo. That had led to a deteriorating situation in Kosovo that threatened regional security. The crisis in Kosovo reinforced the need for the increase in and extension of UNPREDEP's current mandate. Under that mandate, the mission contributed to the monitoring of the arms embargo and would continue to do so.

She said the undemarcated border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia also presented a serious ongoing problem. She called on both Belgrade and


Security Council - 8 - Press Release SC/6554 3911th Meeting (PM) 21 July 1998

Skopje to resolve that issue as soon as possible. Nevertheless, UNPREDEP continued to play an important role in helping to bolster confidence along their common border. By restoring UNPREDEP troop numbers to their previous level, the Council was highlighting its commitment to the mission and to stability in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. She did not exclude consideration of a further increase in its numbers if the situation in the region required it. She looked forward to the day when Skopje would be able to provide completely for the defence of its national borders, but, for now, UNPREDEP's presence under its continued mandate remained essential.

SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that the continued complicated situation in the region justified an extension of the mission's operation. The direct reason to make adjustments, however, had been elaborated in Council resolution 1160 (1998), which authorized an arms embargo and called for an end to the external support of Kosovo terrorists. In the absence of any reliable mechanism for monitoring those prohibitions, which were negatively affecting Kosovo and the region's overall stability, the provision in the current draft requiring UNPREDEP to monitor illicit arms flows, could prove useful. That provision should result in more direct and more focused monitoring, including the initiation of intensified patrols in the border areas.

The external supply of Kosovo terrorists with arms and money persisted, despite Security Council resolutions prohibiting such action, he said. It was precisely for that reason that it was advisable to increase the troop strength along the borders, thereby returning the strength of the mission's military component to its previous level of 1,050. The Russian Federation was open to a constructive solution to the question concerning increasing the military contingents and civil police.

Action on Draft

The Council adopted unanimously the draft text as resolution 1186 (1998).

* *** *