23 February 1999


Press Release
SC/6647



SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS FOR INTENSIFIED EFFORTS IN TAJIKISTAN TOWARDS 1999 REFERENDUM, ELECTIONS

19990223
Presidential Statement Emphasizes Need for Rapid Implementation of General Peace Agreement

The Security Council this afternoon called upon the parties in Tajikistan -- the Government and the United Tajik Opposition -- to intensify their efforts to create conditions for holding a constitutional referendum and presidential elections in 1999, as well as the timely holding of parliamentary elections.

Through a statement read out by its President, Robert Fowler (Canada), the Council regretted that progress had remained slow during the last three months and underlined the need for the parties to speed up the full and sequential implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, especially the Protocol on military issues.

The continued contribution made by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in assisting the parties in implementing the General Agreement was welcome, as was the contribution of the Contact Group of Guarantor States and International Organizations to that process. In that context, the Council considered that the holding of a meeting of that Group at the level of Foreign Ministers to support the peace process could indeed be useful, if properly prepared.

The Council underlined the importance of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) playing a full and active role in the implementation of the General Agreement and requested the Secretary-General to consider means of achieving that, taking into account the security situation.

Reiterating its concern for the precarious security situation in the country, the Council also reiterated the importance of a full investigation into the murder in July 1998 of four members of UNMOT, and took note with appreciation the efforts of the Government in that regard. It called upon the


United Tajik Opposition to contribute more effectively to the investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice.

Acknowledging the Government's efforts to enhance the protection of international personnel, the Council called upon the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of personnel of the United Nations, the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CIS and other international personnel.

In a related provision, it reminded both parties that the international community's ability to mobilize and continue assistance for Tajikistan was linked to the security of UNMOT personnel and international organizations, as well as humanitarian workers. It called upon States concerned to respond promptly and generously to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan for 1999 launched in Geneva in December 1998.

The meeting, which was called to order at 1:22 p.m., was adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/1999/8, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 8 February 1999 (S/1999/124), submitted pursuant to paragraph 11 of its resolution 1206 (1998) of 12 November 1998.

"The Security Council welcomes the regular contacts between the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the leader of the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) and the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation aimed at achieving further progress in the peace process. It regrets that that progress has remained slow during the last three months and underlines the necessity for the parties to speed up the full and sequential implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510), especially the Protocol on military issues (S/1997/209, annex II). The Council calls upon the parties to intensify their efforts to create conditions for the holding in 1999 of a constitutional referendum and presidential elections, as well as the timely holding of parliamentary elections.

"The Security Council notes with appreciation the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and of all the personnel of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and encourages them to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement. It underlines the importance of UNMOT playing a full and active role in the implementation of the General Agreement and requests the Secretary-General to


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6647 3981st Meeting (PM) 23 February 1999

continue to consider means of achieving this taking into account the security situation.

"The Security Council welcomes the continued contribution made by the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS Peacekeeping Forces) in assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement in coordination with all concerned.

"The Security Council welcomes also the contribution of the Contact Group of Guarantor States and International Organizations to the peace process and, in this context, considers that the holding of a meeting of this Group at the level of Foreign Ministers in support of the peace process could indeed be useful, if properly prepared.

"The Security Council welcomes further the activities of various international organizations and humanitarian workers related to the implementation of the General Agreement and addressing the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development needs of Tajikistan. It calls upon Member States and others concerned to respect promptly and generously to the consolidated appeal for Tajikistan for 1999 launched in Geneva in December 1998.

"The Security Council reiterates its concern that the security situation in some parts of Tajikistan remains precarious. It reiterates the importance of a full investigation into the murder in July 1998 of four members of UNMOT and takes note with appreciation of the efforts of the Government of Tajikistan in this regard. The Council calls upon the UTO to contribute more effectively to the investigation in order to bring those responsible to justice. It acknowledges the efforts of the Government of Tajikistan to enhance the protection of international personnel and calls upon the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the CIS Peacekeeping Forces and other international personnel. The Council reminds both parties that the ability of the international community to mobilize and to continue assistance for Tajikistan is linked to the security of the personnel of UNMOT and international organizations, and of humanitarian workers."

Report of Secretary-General

The Council had before it an interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan (document S/1999/124 of 8 February), which updates developments in that country since 3 November 1998. Overall, progress in the peace process has been slow and a great deal remains to be done, he states.

On 13 November 1998, the Tajik Parliament adopted the law on political parties and approved the cabinet appointments of the representatives of the United Tajik Opposition, which had been rejected at the previous session, the


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report recalls. The Parliament also ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights along with the Optional Protocol. Among other main developments, the report mentions that the United Tajik Opposition leader and Chairman of the Commission on National Reconciliation, Abdullo Nuri, formally declared the return of all Opposition fighters to Tajikistan and the closing of all its bases outside the country.

The first two stages in the protocol on military issues have not been completed, the Secretary-General reports, with the main issues remaining being that many Opposition fighters do not stay in assembly areas and only a limited number of weapons have been registered and stored. The debate on constitutional issues is ongoing. The constitutional referendum, presidential and parliamentary elections, all to be held in 1999, remain uncertain. Some progress was made in the allocation of Government posts to the Opposition. Full implementation of the August 1997 amnesty law is still pending.

The risk of the slow pace progress in the peace process is growing restlessness among groups not directly party to the peace agreement and its power-sharing arrangements, and among Opposition fighters awaiting reintegration into the Tajik army or demobilization, the report states, adding that it is necessary to speed up the process. The Secretary-General's Special Representative and the Contact Group are working with the parties to this end, it notes.

The transition period foreseen in the peace agreement elapsed at the end of 1998, says the Secretary-General. The Contact Group has again begun to consider the holding of a Foreign Minister's meeting in support of the peace process, which could be useful.

The Secretary-General remains concerned by the precarious security situation and the fact that the Opposition has not contributed effectively to the investigation into the killing of four members of UNMOT in July 1998. Three suspects have not yet been brought to trial, awaiting evidence from the Opposition. In the prevailing circumstances, UNMOT has continued to limit its activities to Dushanbe and to observe strict security precautions.

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