19 August 1999


Press Release
SC/6713



SECURITY COUNCIL, THROUGH PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT, WELCOMES SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL AGREEMENT IN TAJIKISTAN

19990819

Security Council Extends Deep Sympathy to Turkey's Government and People for Great Tragedy Resulting from Major Earthquake

The Security Council this afternoon welcomed significant progress in the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, achieved to a great extent due to the renewed efforts of the President of Tajikistan and the leadership of the Commission on National Reconciliation.

In a statement read out by its President, Martin Andjaba (Namibia), the Council particularly welcomed the official declaration by the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) of the disbandment of its armed units and the decision by Tajikistan's Supreme Court lifting the bans and restrictions on activities by the political parties and movements of the United Tajik Opposition as important steps contributing to the democratic development of Tajik society. The Council reiterated its encouragement to the Commission on National Reconciliation to intensify its efforts aimed at promoting broad dialogue among the various political forces.

By other terms of the statement, the Council encouraged the parties to undertake further measures to ensure the full and sequential implementation of the General Agreement, especially all the provisions of the Protocol on military issues. The Council also encouraged them to continue their active work in creating conditions for the timely holding of a constitutional referendum and presidential and parliamentary elections.

Also by the statement, the Council, expressing its concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, welcomed the activities of various international organizations and humanitarian workers related to the implementation of the General Agreement. It called upon Member States and others to respond promptly and generously to the mid-year review of the 1999 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan and noted with appreciation the work of the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary- General, Jan Kubis, and of all the personnel of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT). It underlined the need for UNMOT to operate throughout Tajikistan and to have the necessary personnel and financial support.

At the outset of the meeting, Mr. Andjaba (Namibia), Council President, said, "I should like, on behalf of the Security Council, to extend deep sympathy to the Government and people of Turkey in connection with the great tragedy it has experienced as a result of the major earthquake that has occurred in north-western Turkey. I am sure that I speak for all members of the Council in expressing profound shock and sorrow at the great loss of life and the extensive material damage suffered. I would request the representative of Turkey to convey to his Government our sorrow and sincere condolences."

The meeting, which was called to order at 12:03 p.m., was adjourned at 12:13 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1999/25, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 12 August 1999 (S/1999/872), submitted pursuant to paragraph 10 of its resolution 1240 (1999) of 15 May 1999.

"The Security Council welcomes significant progress in the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510) achieved to a great extent due to the renewed efforts of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and the leadership of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR). It particularly welcomes the official declaration by the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) of the disbandment of its armed units and the decision by the Supreme Court of Tajikistan lifting the bans and restriction on activities by the political parties and movements of the UTO as important steps contributing to the democratic development of Tajik society. The Council reiterates its encouragement to the CNR to intensify its efforts aimed at the institution of a broad dialogue among the various political forces in the country in the interests of the restoration and strengthening of civil accord in Tajikistan.

"The Security Council encourages the parties to undertake further concerted measures to ensure the full and sequential implementation, in a balanced manner, of the General Agreement, especially all the provisions of the Protocol on military issues (S/1997/209, annex II), including those related to the reintegration of former opposition fighters. It also encourages them to continue their active work in creating conditions for the timely holding of a constitutional referendum and presidential and parliamentary elections, underlines the importance of the involvement of the United Nations, in continued close cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in this process and welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to approach Member States with concrete proposals on voluntary contributions to support such involvement.

"The Security Council notes with appreciation the work of the outgoing Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Kubis, and of all the personnel of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), and encourages the Mission to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement. It underlines the need for UNMOT to operate throughout Tajikistan and to have the necessary personnel and financial support and requests the Secretary-General to continue to consider means of ensuring a full and active role for the Mission in the implementation of the General Agreement up to the strength authorized by its resolution 1138 (1997) of 14 November 1997 while continuing to observe stringent security measures. The Council urges the Secretary-General to appoint a successor to Jan Kubis as the Special Representative as soon as possible.

"The Security Council supports the continued active involvement of the Contact Group of Guarantor States and International Organizations in the peace process.

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

"The Security Council expresses its concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in Tajikistan. It welcomes the activities of various international organization and humanitarian workers related to the implementation of the General Agreement and addressing the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development needs of Tajikistan. The Council calls upon Member States and others concerned to respond promptly and generously to the mid-year review of the 1999 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Tajikistan."

Report of Secretary General

When the Security Council met this afternoon it had before it the Secretary-General's interim report on the situation in Tajikistan (document S/1999/872) in which he reports the removal of major obstacles which for more than a year had held back the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord by the Government of Tajikistan and the UTO.

The report, which updates developments in Tajikistan and the activities of the UNMOT since the Secretary-General's report of 6 May (S/1999/514), states that the UTO's formal disbandment of its armed forces opens the way for the legalization of UTO political parties and their full participation in the political process.

In the report, submitted pursuant to Council resolution 1240 (1999) of 15 May, the Secretary-General calls on the Government and the UTO to broaden the dialogue to other parties and groups so as to encompass the full spectrum of Tajik society.

The Secretary-General reports that Tajikistan is facing three important ballots: the referendum on constitutional amendments on 26 September, and presidential and parliamentary elections by 6 November 1999 and February 2000 respectively. Having agreed with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on a joint approach to the parliamentary elections, United Nations involvement will depend entirely on voluntary contributions.

During the reporting period, the Secretary-General says, the parties reached agreement on the proposed constitutional amendments, and a special session of Parliament decided on 30 June to hold a referendum on 26 September. On 3 August, the UTO officially declared the disbandment of its armed forces. Progress on that and other issues was achieved after a prolonged stalemate during which Abdullo Nuri, UTO leader and Chairman of the Commission on National Reconciliation, expressed concern over the numerous unresolved problems in the peace process, notably President Emomali Rakhmonov's rejection of the proposed constitutional amendments, the failure to grant amnesty to former UTO fighters and supporters and the slow pace of power-sharing, including the Government's unwillingness to appoint a UTO representative to the defence portfolio.

A continued exchange of public accusations resulted in a negative atmosphere which fuelled clashes on the ground between Government servicemen and opposition fighters and among opposition fighters belonging to different groups, the report states. The incidents were contained and resolved with the cooperation of the parties. On 14 May, a special parliamentary session adopted an Act granting amnesty to more than 5,000 UTO fighters who had registered at various assembly areas in 1998 and who were the subject of investigation for acts committed during the civil war.

Following the UTO's 24 May suspension of its participation in the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation, the report says, the parties agreed on 7 June to form a joint working group as a step towards resuming the dialogue and to resolve outstanding differences. The group was also to prepare for a meeting between President Rakhmonov and Mr. Nuri. The UNMOT, invited as an observer, played an active role in resolving the differences between the two sides. On 16 June, the parties agreed on a text listing tasks for implementation and a time-frame for their completion. On 17 June, Mr. Nuri and President Rakhmonov signed the text as a formal protocol. The Commission resumed its work the following day with full UTO participation.

Since that signing, the report says, 12 UTO members were appointed to government posts, bringing the total to 33; the 30 June special parliamentary session approved the elevation of the Committee on Emergency Situations to a full ministry and the UTO's military chief of staff was appointed to head it. That decision removed one of the most contentious issues relating to appointments and an obstacle to the attestation and integration of opposition fighters, which was completed shortly thereafter.

According to the report, the 30 June special parliamentary session also approved the nomination of four UTO members to the Central Commission on Elections and Referendums. A two-person team, tasked by the Chairman of the Commission on National Reconciliation to begin drafting an electoral law, is working with a legal expert from OSCE.

During the reporting period, job creation projects for former UTO fighters were launched in six districts, the report says. They will provide work for about 700 former fighters, 50 war widows and 170 specialists for an average period of five months.

The Secretary-General reports that the humanitarian situation remained precarious during the reporting period, with large segments of the population receiving some form of assistance. Despite the importance of humanitarian operations in contributing to peace and stability, donor response to the 1999 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal remained disappointing, with only 40 per cent of requirements pledged.

Remaining actively involved in the peace process, the Contact Group of Guarantor States held joint sessions with the Commission and several extraordinary sessions to monitor developments and assist the parties in resolving stalemates, the report says. The UNMOT reopened its field office in Khorog on 1 June and in Khujand on 21 June. It continued to observe stringent security measures both in Dushanbe and in the field.

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