23 September 1998


Press Release
SC/6577



SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS ALL PARTIES END HOSTILITIES AND MAINTAIN A CEASEFIRE IN KOSOVO

19980923
Resolution 1199 (1998), Adopted by 14-0-1 Vote, Calls for Return of Refugees and Free Access for Humanitarian Aid

Expressing grave concern at recent intense fighting and the flow of refugees from Kosovo and the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Serbian security forces and the Yugoslav Army, the Security Council this afternoon demanded that all parties, groups and individuals immediately cease hostilities and maintain a ceasefire in Kosovo.

It took that action through its adoption of resolution 1199 (1998), by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China).

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also demanded that the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership take immediate steps to improve the humanitarian situation and to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe. It called upon them to enter immediately into a meaningful dialogue without preconditions and with international involvement and to a clear timetable, leading to an end of the crisis and to a negotiated political solution to the issue of Kosovo.

By the resolution, the Council demanded further that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia implement immediately the following measures towards achieving a political solution: cease all action by the security forces affecting the civilian population and order the withdrawal of those security units; enable effective, continuous and unimpeded international monitoring in Kosovo; facilitate the safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and allow free access for humanitarian organizations and supplies to Kosovo; make rapid progress to a clear timetable with the aim of agreeing to confidence-building measures and finding a political solution to the problem of Kosovo.

The Council insisted that the Kosovo Albanian leadership condemn all terrorist action. It also urged States and international organizations represented in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to make available personnel


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to fulfil the responsibility of carrying out effective and continuous international monitoring on the objectives of resolution 1160 (1998). By that resolution, the Council banned the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related material of all types and decided that States shall prevent arming and training for terrorist activities in Kosovo.

Authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and others concerned were called upon to take all appropriate steps to ensure that monitoring personnel performing functions under this resolution were not subject to threat, use of force or other interference. Member States were called upon to provide adequate resources for humanitarian assistance in the region.

The Council decided that, should the concrete measures demanded by this resolution and resolution 1160 (1998) not be taken, it would consider further action and additional measures to maintain or restore peace and stability in the region.

The Secretary-General was requested to continue to provide regular reports to the Council as necessary on his assessment of compliance with this resolution and resolution 1160 (1998).

Statements were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, China, United Kingdom and the United States.

The meeting, which began at 3:42 p.m., was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.


Security Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Kosovo. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General on developments in the area since his last report of 5 August (document S/1998/834/Add.1).

The report, dated 4 September, was submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1160 (1998) in which the Council decided to ban the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related materiel of all types including weapons and munitions, military vehicles and equipment and spare parts for them. The Council also decided that States shall prevent arming and training for terrorist activities there.

In his report, the Secretary-General said he was alarmed by the lack of progress towards a political settlement in Kosovo and by the further loss of life, displacement of civilian population and the destruction of property resulting from the conflict. It was essential that negotiations get under way so as to break the cycle of disproportionate use of force by the Serbian forces and acts of violence by the Kosovo Albanian paramilitary units by promoting a political resolution of the conflict.

The Secretary-General also referred to a 1 September letter he wrote to President Slobodan Milosevic to underline his alarm at the excessive use of force by Serbian military and police forces, noting that Kosovo Albanian extremists also bear responsibility for their acts of provocation.

Persistent tensions on the border between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Albania, including reports of border violations and cross- border shelling, were a further cause of serious concern, the report stated. That escalation of tensions risks detrimental consequences for the stability in the region and United Nations operations in the region could be negatively affected by developments in Kosovo.

Also in the report, the Secretary-General said there could be no military solution for the crisis and he urged parties to the conflict to demonstrate restraint and to start the negotiating process. Efforts by the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States), regional organizations and individual States to put an end to the violence had his full support, he added, and he was prepared to contribute to those efforts through all resources available to him.

Recent clashes in Kosovo had led to further displacement of civilian population which had borne the brunt of the fighting since March 1998, the report stated. The Secretary-General urged parties in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to assure unhindered humanitarian access to all affected areas and to ensure the security of the relief personnel. He called on international humanitarian organizations to intensify their efforts to provide relief to


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Kosovo's population in order to prevent a major humanitarian disaster in the region.

The report states that an estimated 600 to 700 civilians have been killed in the fighting in Kosovo since March and the conflict had resulted in the displacement of over 230,000 persons, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Of those, there could be up to 50,000 displaced people in Kosovo who have been forced from their homes into the woods and mountains. Those people were the most vulnerable and were in need of urgent help. It was clear that, if those people remained in their current locations over the winter, they would face a serious risk of death.

The Council also had before it an addendum to the Secretary General's report on Kosovo (document S/1998/834/Add.1), which contains information on the situation in Kosovo and measures taken by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), dated 20 August. The report states that the only hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict is an immediate cessation of the Serbian military offensive and initiation of unconditional negotiations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia authorities and widely represented Albanians from Kosovo.

Since the last days of July, the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo has reached a phase that can be described as an apogee of violence and may seriously affect the neighbouring States, the report states. The lack of credibility of the threat to use international forces caused the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's continuation of the military offensive resulting in egregious humanitarian abuses in Kosovo.

The OSCE added that the recent successes of the Serbian security forces in Kosovo seem to be short-lived and do nothing to address the fundamental source of instability there. The refusal of the Belgrade authorities to allow the Kosovo Albanians to play a meaningful role in governing their own affairs, and ongoing abuses of basic human rights are pushing member States of the OSCE to accept any kind of solution to the conflict which will assure the end of violence and prevent a possible spillover of the conflict.

Further, the Council had before it a letter from the Russian Federation dated 17 June which contained a joint statement by the President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, and the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, adopted at the conclusion of their discussions in Moscow on 16 June 1998.

In that statement (document S/1998/526), the Presidents reaffirmed their position of principle on the necessity of preserving the territorial integrity and respecting the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and condemned all forms of terrorism, separatism and armed activity which affect the civilian population.


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In an effort to stabilize the situation in Kosovo, the Yugoslav side announces its willingness to, among other measures: resolve the existing problems by political means, based on the equality of all citizens and national communities in Kosovo; continue without delay the negotiations between representatives of the State and representatives of Kosovar Albanian political parties; refrain from taking any repressive measures against peaceful populations; guarantee complete freedom of movement throughout the territory of Kosovo and free access by humanitarian organizations; allow the free return of all refugees and displaced persons; reduce the presence of security forces outside the areas in which they are permanently deployed; and announce the willingness of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to begin negotiations with the OSCE.

Both Presidents stated their firm intention to develop multilateral cooperation in the interest of the peoples of the two countries and of peace and stability in Europe.

Draft Resolution

The Council had before it the following draft resolution (document S/1998/882) sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its resolution 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998,

"Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General pursuant to that resolution, and in particular his report of 4 September 1998 (S/1998/834 and Add.l),

"Noting with appreciation the statement of the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Italy, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America (the Contact Group) of 12 June 1998 at the conclusion of the Contact Group's meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Canada and Japan (S/1998/567, annex), and the further statement of the Contact Group made in Bonn on 8 July 1998 (S/1998/657),

"Noting also with appreciation the joint statement by the Presidents of the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 16 June 1998 (S/1998/526),

"Noting further the communication by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to the Contact Group on 7 July 1998, expressing the view that the situation in Kosovo represents an armed conflict within the terms of the mandate of the Tribunal,


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"Gravely concerned at the recent intense fighting in Kosovo and in particular the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Serbian security forces and the Yugoslav Army which have resulted in numerous civilian casualties and, according to the estimate of the Secretary-General, the displacement of over 230,000 persons from their homes,

"Deeply concerned by the flow of refugees into northern Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other European countries as a result of the use of force in Kosovo, as well as by the increasing numbers of displaced persons within Kosovo, and other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, up to 50,000 of whom the UNHCR has estimated are without shelter and other basic necessities,

"Reaffirming the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety, and underlining the responsibility of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for creating the conditions which allow them to do so,

"Condemning all acts of violence by any party, as well as terrorism in pursuit of political goals by any group or individual, and all external support for such activities in Kosovo, including the supply of arms and training for terrorist activities in Kosovo and expressing concern at the reports of continuing violations of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 (1998),

"Deeply concerned by the rapid deterioration in the humanitarian situation throughout Kosovo and alarmed at the impending humanitarian catastrophe as described in the report of the Secretary-General, and emphasizing the need to prevent this from happening,

"Deeply concerned also by reports of increasing violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law, and emphasizing the need to ensure that the rights of all inhabitants of Kosovo are respected,

"Reaffirming the objectives of resolution 1160 (1998), in which the Council expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo problem which would include an enhanced status for Kosovo, a substantially greater degree of autonomy, and meaningful self-administration,

"Reaffirming also the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,

"Affirming that the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region,

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,


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"1. Demands that all parties, groups and individuals immediately cease hostilities and maintain a ceasefire in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which would enhance the prospects for a meaningful dialogue between the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership and reduce the risks of a humanitarian catastrophe;

"2. Demands also that the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership take immediate steps to improve the humanitarian situation and to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe;

"3. Calls upon the authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to enter immediately into a meaningful dialogue without preconditions and with international involvement, and to a clear timetable, leading to an end of the crisis and to a negotiated political solution to the issue of Kosovo, and welcomes the current efforts aimed at facilitating such a dialogue;

"4. Demands further that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in addition to the measures called for under resolution 1160 (1998), implement immediately the following concrete measures towards achieving a political solution to the situation in Kosovo as contained in the Contact Group statement of 12 June 1998:

"(a) cease all action by the security forces affecting the civilian population and order the withdrawal of security units used for civilian repression;

"(b) enable effective and continuous international monitoring in Kosovo by the European Community Monitoring Mission and diplomatic missions accredited to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including access and complete freedom of movement of such monitors to, from and within Kosovo unimpeded by government authorities, and expeditious issuance of appropriate travel documents to international personnel contributing to the monitoring;

"(c) facilitate, in agreement with the UNHCR and the International Committee of the Red cross (ICRC), the safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and allow free and unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations and supplies to Kosovo;

"(d) make rapid progress to a clear timetable, in the dialogue referred to in paragraph 3 with the Kosovo Albanian community called for in resolution 1160 (1998), with the aim of agreeing confidence-building measures and finding a political solution to the problems of Kosovo;

"5. Notes in this connection, the commitments of the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in his joint statement with the President of the Russian Federation of 16 June 1998:


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"(a) to resolve existing problems by political means on the basis of equality for all citizens and ethnic communities in Kosovo;

"(b) not to carry out any repressive actions against the peaceful population;

"(c) to provide full freedom of movement for and ensure that there will be no restrictions on representatives of foreign States and international institutions accredited to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia monitoring the situation in Kosovo;

"(d) to ensure full and unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations, the ICRC and the UNHCR, and delivery of humanitarian supplies;

"(e) to facilitate the unimpeded return of refugees and displaced persons under programmes agreed with the UNHCR and the ICRC, providing State aid for the reconstruction of destroyed homes,

and calls for the full implementation of these commitments;

"6. Insists that the Kosovo Albanian leadership condemn all terrorist action, and emphasizes that all elements in the Kosovo Albanian community should pursue their goals by peaceful means only;

"7. Recalls the obligations of all States to implement fully the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 (1998);

"8. Endorses the steps taken to establish effective international monitoring of the situation in Kosovo, and in this connection welcomes the establishment of the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission;

"9. Urges States and international organizations represented in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to make available personnel to fulfil the responsibility of carrying out effective and continuous international monitoring in Kosovo until the objectives of this resolution and those of resolution 1160 (1998) are achieved;

"10. Reminds the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that it has the primary responsibility for the security of all diplomatic personnel accredited to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as the safety and security of all international and non-governmental humanitarian personnel in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and calls upon the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and all others concerned in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to take all appropriate steps to ensure that monitoring personnel performing functions under this resolution are not subject to the threat or use of force or interference of any kind;


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"11. Requests States to pursue all means consistent with their domestic legislation and relevant international law to prevent funds collected on their territory being used to contravene resolution 1160 (1998);

"12. Calls upon Member States and others concerned to provide adequate resources for humanitarian assistance in the region and to respond promptly and generously to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance Related to the Kosovo Crisis;

"13. Calls upon the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the leaders of the Kosovo Albanian community and all others concerned to cooperate fully with the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the investigation of possible violations within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal;

"14. Underlines also the need for the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to bring to justice those members of the security forces who have been involved in the mistreatment of civilians and the deliberate destruction of property;

"15. Requests the Secretary-General to provide regular reports to the Council as necessary on his assessment of compliance with this resolution by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and all elements in the Kosovo Albanian community, including through his regular reports on compliance with resolution 1160 (1998);

"16. Decides, should the concrete measures demanded in this resolution and resolution 1160 (1998) not be taken, to consider further action and additional measures to maintain or restore peace and stability in the region;

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

Action on Draft Resolution

SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation), speaking before the vote, said there was the threat of serious humanitarian consequences in the conflict in Kosovo. There was an urgent need to foster a political settlement to the situation and today's resolution should help such a settlement. It demanded that the parties involved begin a serious dialogue for the purpose of a political settlement. It also called for the Kosovo parties involved to renounce terrorist acts. All States should comply with the prohibitions under resolution 1160 (1998).

He added that this resolution states that, if the demands that were set out in this resolution and in resolution 1160 (1998) were not complied with, the Council would consider further actions. No measures of force and no sanctions at this stage were being introduced by the Council. The resolution adhered to the principle of territorial autonomy of Yugoslavia. Any use of


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force, especially unilateral, would risk destabilizing the region. The Council would continue to make efforts to foster a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

QIN HUASUN (China), also speaking before the vote, said his country was of the view that the question of Kosovo was an internal matter of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The question of Kosovo should and could only be solved by the Yugoslav people themselves, in their own way. The situation in the Kosovo region was now stabilizing and the Yugoslav Government had taken a series of positive measures to encourage the refugees to return home and to provide facilities for humanitarian relief work.

He said that many countries in the region were multi-ethnic and, if the Security Council were to get involved in a dispute without a request from countries concerned or go even further to unfairly apply pressure to the country concerned, it would create a bad precedent and have wider negative implications. The draft resolution did not take into consideration the legitimate rights of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia within its sphere of sovereignty. It might reinforce the separatist and terrorist forces in the region and intensify the tension there. For those reasons, his delegation could not support the draft resolution.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), as resolution 1199 (1998).

Speaking after the vote, Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that despite the efforts of the international community to find a settlement, the security forces of President Milosevic were continuing to inflict brutality and repression on those they claimed to see as their fellow citizens. The so-called Kosovo Liberation Army had contributed to the present crisis. Terrorism under any guise was unacceptable.

If President Milosevic ignored his obligations as set out in the resolution and continued to pursue military repression, the international community would respond vigorously, he said. By acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, and by explicitly characterizing the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo as a threat to international peace and security, the Council was putting President Milosevic on notice that he would be held accountable for his actions. He would be wise to take heed.

A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States), speaking after the vote, said the current resolution underscored the growing concern that Belgrade's repressive actions had created a potentially catastrophic humanitarian situation as winter approached. It increased pressure on Belgrade to negotiate seriously with the Kosovo Albanians to achieve a political settlement that provided for democratic self-government for the people of Kosovo and avoided the devastating consequences of continued conflict. It also affirmed that the situation constituted a serious threat to peace and security in the region.


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The best way to stem this crisis was for Belgrade to heed the Council's demands for an immediate cessation of offensive actions and to pull back its security forces, he added. The Council also called for meaningful dialogue leading to a solution to the Kosovo situation. It was hoped that the resolution and the ongoing efforts to reach a settlement would convince Belgrade to comply with the demands of the international community. Planning at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for military operations if those efforts did not succeed was nearing completion. The international community would not stand idly by as the situation deteriorated.

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