15 December 1999


Press Release
GA/9687



ASSEMBLY URGES ECONOMIC AID FOR VARIOUS COUNTRIES; SEEKS STRONGER LINKS BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS AND OSCE

19991215

Text on Central America also Approved; UN Self-Examination Welcomed as Debate Begins on Situation in Bosnia and Herzergovina

The General Assembly this afternoon adopted resolutions calling for special economic assistance to individual countries or regions, assistance to the Palestinian people, enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), procedures to establish a firm and lasting peace in Central America and general and complete disarmament on the issue of small arms.

Also this afternoon, as the Assembly began its consideration of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a number of speakers said that the Secretary-General's report on Srebrenica would shape the future of the United Nations, underscoring that the exposure of the Organization's weaknesses in peacekeeping would only serve to benefit it.

Six of the resolutions adopted without a vote this afternoon fell under an agenda item on strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance. Their provisions covered a wide range of actions:

-- regarding international assistance to and cooperation with the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America, the Assembly emphasized the importance of supporting and strengthening the efforts of Central American countries to implement the Strategic Framework for the Reduction of Vulnerability and Disasters in Central America, adopted in the Declaration of Guatemala II on 19 October.

-- for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Assembly called on all States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the affected population in that country, especially during the winter months.

-- for Eastern European States affected by developments in the Balkans, the Assembly stressed the importance of the effective implementation of the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe. The objective of the pact is to strengthen


General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9687 80th Meeting (PM) 15 December 1999

countries in that region in their efforts to foster peace, democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity in order to achieve stability in the whole region.

-- for East Timor, the Assembly asked all Member States to urgently respond to fully meet the requirements of the United Nations consolidated inter-agency appeal for the Territory's crises, which was launched on 27 October.

-- for the countries affected by hurricanes José and Lenny in the Caribbean area, the Assembly urged all States, as a matter of urgency, to contribute generously to the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the affected countries and to provide financing for the national and regional relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts being undertaken by those countries.

-- on assistance to the Palestinian people, the Assembly stressed the importance of the work of United Nations officials, and of the steps taken under the auspices of the Secretary-General to ensure the achievement of a coordinated mechanism for United Nations activities throughout the occupied territories.

-- Member States were also urged to open up their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms.

In other action this afternoon, the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to none against, with two abstentions (Armenia, China), adopted a resolution, as amended, on the cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE (For details of the vote see Annex II). Before adopting that text the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to one against (Armenia), with 54 abstentions, adopted an amendment to the draft, introduced earlier by Azerbaijan (See Annex I).

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly welcomed the adoption at the Istanbul Summit of a Charter for European Security, which reaffirms the OSCE as a primary organization for peaceful settlement of disputes within its region, as well as a key instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

In another action related to the situation in Central America, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a text by which it encouraged governments in the region to continue fully implementing commitments assumed under national, regional or international agreements. It particularly cited commitments to implement the social programme to overcome poverty and unemployment, establish a more just and equitable society, improve public safety, strengthen the judiciary, consolidate a modern and transparent public administration, and eliminate corruption, impunity, acts of terrorism and drug and arms trafficking.

Also this afternoon, by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to none against, with two abstentions (Russian Federation, Lebanon), the Assembly adopted a draft resolution entitled "small arms" as amended (see Annex IV). Before adopting the


General Assembly Plenary - 1b - Press Release GA/9687 80th Meeting (PM) 15 December 1999

full text, the Assembly separately adopted the eighth preambular paragraph of the draft contained in the report of the First Committee on general and complete disarmament. The recorded vote was 96 in favour to one against (Russian Federation), with 11 abstentions (see Annex III).

By the terms of the resolution, the Assembly decided to convene a conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects in June/July 2001. It decided to establish a preparatory committee, open to participation by all States, with the participation as observers of the United Nations specialized agencies and other relevant international organizations.

Statements on the strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Canada, Grenada, United States, Syria, Israel and Japan. The Observer for Palestine also spoke.

Statements on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE were made by the representatives of Norway, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Finland, United States and France.

Statements the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina were made by the representatives of Jordan, Croatia, Finland, Saudi Arabia, United Sates, Hungary, Iran, Russian Federation, Malaysia, Liechtenstein and Pakistan.

The Assembly will meet again tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. to continue its consideration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and begin its deliberations of the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.


Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this afternoon to consider the following items: strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations; cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); the situation in Central America; general and complete disarmament; and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had before it related report and draft resolutions on those issues.

Strengthening of Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance

By the terms of a draft resolution on the security of United Nations humanitarian personnel (document A/54/L.70) the Assembly would urge all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, United Nations and its associated personnel and to respect and ensure respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises. The Assembly would call on all governments and parties in complex humanitarian emergencies to cooperate fully with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies and organizations, and to ensure the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel in order to allow them to efficiently perform their task of assisting the affected civilian population. It would strongly condemn any act or failure to act which obstructs or prevents humanitarian personnel and United Nations personnel from discharging their humanitarian functions.

By further terms of the text the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure full respect for the human rights, privileges and immunities of United Nations and other personnel carrying out activities in fulfilment of the mandate of a United Nations operation and to continue to consider ways and means to strengthen the protection of such personnel. It would urge all States to ensure that any threat or act of violence committed against humanitarian personnel on their territory is fully investigated and that all appropriate measures, in accordance with international law and national legislation, are taken to ensure that the perpetrators of such acts are prosecuted.

The Assembly would urge all States to provide adequate and prompt information in the event of arrest or detention of the Organization's humanitarian personnel, to afford them with the necessary medical assistance and to allow independent medical teams to visit and examine the health of detainees. It would also urge all States to take necessary measures to ensure the speedy release of United Nations and other personnel who have been arrested or detained in violation of their immunity. It would ask the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to ensure that security matters are an integral part of the planning for existing and newly mandated United Nations operations and that such precautions extend to all United Nations and associated personnel.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

Special Economic Assistance to Individual Countries or Regions

By the terms of a draft resolution on international assistance to and cooperation with the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America (document A/54/L.29/Rev.1) the Assembly would emphasize the importance of supporting and strengthening the efforts of the Central American countries to implement the Strategic Framework for the Reduction of Vulnerability and Disasters in Central America, adopted by their Presidents in the Declaration of Guatemala II on 19 October. It would also emphasize the importance of supporting and strengthening the related projects and programmes of the Quinquennium, in accordance with the process of transformation and sustainable development for the region for the next millennium.

By other terms of the text, the Assembly would stress the need for the international community to maintain its cooperation and assistance, both bilateral and multilateral, with the Central American countries, to support the promotion of sustainable development and the consolidation of peace, freedom and democracy in the region.

The Assembly would recognize the importance for the subregion of the studies being undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with its national and regional partners and donors, in particular in the preparation of the forthcoming meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank Consultative Group on the regional aspects of the reconstruction and transformation of Central America, to be hosted by the Government of Spain in Madrid in 2000. This meeting will seek to establish new relations of cooperation in pursuit of the objectives of the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America.

Further by the text the Assembly would ask the Secretary-General, the organs, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system and all States, international financial institutions and regional and sub-regional organizations to continue providing the support needed to attain the objectives of the programme for the sustainable development of Central America, in particular those which are being pursued within the framework of the Quinquennium for the Reduction of Vulnerability to and the Impact of Natural Disasters in Central America.

The draft is sponsored by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.

By the terms of a draft resolution on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/54/L.66), sponsored by Belarus and the Russian Federation, the Assembly would call on all States and intergovernmental and non- governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the affected population in that country, especially during the winter months, and with particular attention to the special situation of women, children and other vulnerable groups.

It would also urge the relevant authorities and the international community to support programmes to ensure that the humanitarian needs of refugees and the internally displaced in the country are met, and to support durable solutions to their plight, in particular voluntary repatriation and reintegration. It would also stress the need to create conditions conducive for their safe return. The Assembly would also call upon the Secretary-General to continue mobilizing international humanitarian assistance for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

By the terms of a draft on economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by developments in the Balkans (document A/54/L.67), the Assembly would express concern at the special economic problems confronting the Eastern European States affected by the developments in the Balkans, in particular their impact on regional trade and economic relations and on navigation along the Danube and on the Adriatic Sea. It would stress the importance of the effective implementation of the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe. The objective of the pact is to strengthen countries in south-eastern Europe in their efforts to foster peace, democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity, in order to achieve stability in the whole region.

By other terms of the text, the Assembly would also invite all States and the relevant international organizations, both within and outside the United Nations system, in particular the international financial institutions, to continue to take into account the special needs and situations of the affected States in providing support and assistance to their efforts for economic recovery, structural adjustment and development. The Assembly would also encourage affected States of the region to continue the process of multilateral regional cooperation in such fields as transport and infrastructure development, including the resumption of navigation on the Danube, as well as to foster conditions favourable to trade and investment in all the regional States.

The draft is sponsored by Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine.

By the terms of a draft resolution on assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for East Timor (document A/54/L.68) the Assembly would emphasize the importance of close consultation and collaboration with the East Timorese people and organizations in the planning and delivery of humanitarian, rehabilitation and development assistance to the Territory. It would ask all Member States to urgently respond to fully meet the requirements of the United Nations consolidated inter-agency appeal for the East Timor crises, which was launched on 27 October.

The Assembly would call upon Member States, United Nations agencies, other international organizations and non-governmental organizations to continue to collaborate to ensure the safe and unhindered access and provision of humanitarian, rehabilitation and development assistance to all those in need in East Timor, including internally displaced persons. It would also call upon Member States, United Nations agencies and other international organizations to continue to collaborate, in full cooperation with the Indonesian Government, to ensure safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to the East Timorese in western Timor and other parts of Indonesia, including those who do not wish to return to East Timor, in accordance with national and international law.

By the text the Assembly would also call upon Member States to ensure the voluntary, safe and unimpeded return of refugees and displaced persons to East Timor. It would emphasize the responsibility of States to ensure the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee and displaced persons camps and settlements, and, in this regard, welcomes the policy of the Indonesian Government to ensure that the East Timorese have the freedom to exercise their right to return voluntarily, to remain in western Timor or to relocate within other parts of Indonesia or other countries.

The draft is sponsored by Angola, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

By the terms of a draft on emergency assistance to countries affected by hurricanes Jose and Lenny (document A/54/L.69) the Assembly would urge all States of the international community, as a matter of urgency, to contribute generously to the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the affected countries and to provide financing for the national and regional relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts being undertaken by the affected countries. It would also urge the bodies and agencies of the United Nations system and the international financial institutions to assist governments in their rehabilitation and redevelopment efforts, taking into account their vulnerability to natural disasters.

By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would calls upon the relevant organizations and agencies of the United Nations system and other multilateral organizations to assist in the strengthening of national and regional capacity for disaster preparedness, planning, mitigation and reconstruction, including early warning systems. It would further call upon the relevant agencies and bodies of the United Nations system as well as regional bodies to assist the States and territories of the Caribbean region in convening, when possible, a workshop for building national and regional capacity in disaster preparedness and disaster management.

The draft is sponsored by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United States and Venezuela.

By the terms of draft on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/54/L.52), the Assembly would stress the importance of the work of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority and of the steps taken under the auspices of the Secretary- General to ensure the achievement of a coordinated mechanism for United Nations activities throughout the occupied territories.

The Assembly would urge Member States, international institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and regional and inter-regional organizations to extend as quickly and as generously as possible, economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in close cooperation with the PLO and through official Palestinian institutions. It would also urge Member States to open up their markets to exports of Palestinian products on the most favourable terms.

Further, it would call on the international community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs.

The draft is sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

By terms of a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/54/L.64) the Assembly would welcome the adoption at the Istanbul Summit of a Charter for European Security, which reaffirms OSCE as a primary organization for peaceful settlement of disputes within its region, as well as a key instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Also, it would encourage further efforts by the OSCE in Europe to foster security and stability in its region through continued promotion of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Assembly would express its appreciation of the OSCE contribution to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in implementing Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), including the establishment of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, as part of UNMIK, responsible for institution building. It would also fully support the continued advice and assistance of the OSCE to Albania in its social, political and economic transition. It would commend the OSCE for providing assistance and expertise to Croatia in the field of human rights and for its role in that country in monitoring implementation of commitments for returning refugees and displaced persons.

By the text, the Assembly would also fully support the OSCE efforts in achieving a settlement in the Transdniestran region of the Republic of Moldova and would welcome its commitments to facilitate implementing relevant decisions of the Budapest and Lisbon summits, the Oslo Ministerial and Istanbul summit, noting the commitment by the Russian Federation to complete the withdrawal of its forces, within a specific time, from the Republic of Moldova. Further, it would welcome the organization’s increased presence in Central Asia and its readiness to contribute, with the United Nations, to strengthening cooperation in the region as well as to promoting democratic institutions and to assist countries in the region in addressing economic and environmental problems.

The draft is sponsored by Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.

By the terms of an amendment to the draft (document A/54/L.65), sponsored by Azerbaijan, the Assembly would fully support the activities of the OSCE to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in and around the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, would welcome cooperation between the United Nations and OSCE in that regard.

Situation in Central America

By the terms of the a draft resolution on procedures for establishing lasting peace and progress in Central America (document A/54/L.24/Rev.1), the Assembly would commend the efforts of the peoples and governments of the Central American countries to re-establish peace and democracy throughout the region and to promote sustainable development by implementing commitments adopted at the summit meetings.

The Assembly would emphasize the importance of the establishment of national and regional development priorities as the basis for promoting effective, consistent and sustainable progress of the Central American peoples, and for providing international cooperation in accordance with the new circumstances in and outside the region. It would also encourage the Central American governments to continue to carry out their historic responsibilities by fully implementing the commitments they have assumed, especially the commitments to implement the social programme to overcome poverty and unemployment, establish a more just and equitable society, improve public safety, strengthen the judiciary, consolidate a modern and transparent public administration and eliminate corruption, impunity, acts of terrorism and drug and arms trafficking.

The draft is sponsored by Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

According to a report of the Fifth Committee (document A/54/662), the Committee considered the statement by the Secretary-General on the programme budget implications of the draft on Central America. The Committee decided to inform the Assembly that should it adopt the draft, additional requirements not exceeding $187,700 would be charged against the provision of $90,387,200 for special political missions requested in the relevant section of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001.

General and Complete Disarmament

By the terms of draft resolution Q on small arms (contained in document A/54/563), the Assembly would decide to convene in June-July 2001 the conference on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

The Assembly would also decide to establish a preparatory committee to hold no fewer than three sessions, with the first session to be in New York, from 28 February to 3 March 2000. The Assembly would request the Committee to decide, at its first session, on the date and venue of the 2001 conference.

Report of Fifth Committee

According to a Fifth Committee report (document A/54/663), should the General Assembly adopt draft resolution A/C.1/54/L.42/Rev.1, an additional requirement of $753,000 would arise in the proposed programme budget for 2000-2001 (under section 4, Disarmament -- $384,600, and under section 26, Public Information -- $368,500. In addition, an amount of $56,500 would be needed under section 32, Staff Assessment, to be offset by the same amount under income section 1, Income from staff assessment.

Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Report of Secretary-General on Fall of Srebrenica

A report of the Secretary-General on the fall of Srebrenica (document A/54/549), requested by the Assembly, includes an assessment of the events since the establishment of the safe area of Srebrenica on 16 April 1993 under Security Council resolution 819 (1993).

The Secretary-General says the United Nations had a mandate to “deter attacks” on Srebrenica and five other safe areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite that mandate, in 1995 up to 20,000 people, overwhelmingly from the Bosnian Muslim community, were killed in and around the safe areas. In addition, a majority of the 117 members of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) who lost their lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina died in or around the safe areas.

The Secretary-General said he was not seeking to deflect criticism directed at the United Nations and was also painfully aware of the Organization’s failure to implement its mandate. Among the questions raised, the Secretary-General asks how can this have been allowed to happen, and how will the United Nations ensure that no future peacekeeping operation witnesses such a calamity on its watch.

Addressing the role of the United Nations Protection Force in Srebrenica, the Secretary-General says many observers have been quick to point to the soldiers of the UNPROFOR Netherlands battalion as the most immediate culprits, blaming them for not attempting to stop the Serb attack, and not protecting the thousands of people who sought refuge in their compound.

On the first criticism, the report States, the Commander of the battalion believed that the Bosniacs could not defend Srebrenica by themselves, and that his own forces could not be effective without substantial air support. Accordingly, he requested that support on a number of occasions, even after many of his own troops had been taken hostage and faced potential Serb reprisals. Those requests were not heeded, and some of them may not have been received at all. However, after the Commander had been told that the risk of confrontation with the Serbs was to be avoided, and that the mandate was secondary to the security of his personnel, the battalion withdrew from observation posts under direct attack.

The Secretary-General says that had UNPROFOR troops in Srebrenica engaged the attacking Serbs directly, it is possible that events would have unfolded differently. It is not possible to say with any certainty that stronger actions by Dutchbat would have saved lives, and it is even possible that such efforts could have done more harm than good. Faced with this prospect and unaware that the Serbs would proceed to execute thousands of men and boys, Dutchbat avoided armed confrontation while appealing for support at the highest levels.

It is harder, the Secretary-General goes on to say, to explain why the Dutchbat personnel did not report more fully the scenes that were unfolding around them following the enclave’s fall. Although they did not witness mass killing, they were aware of some sinister indications. That failure of intelligence-sharing was not only limited to the fall of Srebrenica, but an endemic weakness throughout the conflict, both within the peacekeeping mission, and between the mission and Member States.

Analysing the role of Bosniac forces on the ground, the Secretary-General notes that one of the criticisms levelled at the Bosniacs in Srebrenica is that they did not fully demilitarize and that they did not do enough to defend the enclave. Specific instructions from United Nations Headquarters stated that UNPROFOR should not be too zealous in searching for Bosniac weapons and, later, that the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniacs gave up their weapons. The Serbs never did withdraw their heavy weapons.

Regarding the accusation that the Bosniacs did not do enough to defend Srebrenica, military experts largely agreed that the Bosniacs could not have defended the enclave for long in the face of a concerted attack supported by armour and artillery. The defenders were an undisciplined, untrained, poorly armed, totally isolated force, lying prone in the crowded valley of Srebrenica, surrounded by more sophisticated forces.

A third accusation levelled at the Bosniac defenders of Srebrenica, the report States, is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of the safe area. There is no credible evidence to support this. Dutchbat personnel on the ground assessed that the few raids the Bosniacs mounted out of Srebrenica were of no military significance, and were often to gather food, since the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. In contrast, continues the Secretary-General, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext to pursue their central war aim: to create a geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country.

Turning to the role of air power, the Secretary-General says even in the most restrictive interpretation of the mandate, the use of air support against Serb targets was clearly warranted. The Serbs were firing directly at Dutchbat observation posts with tank rounds as early as five days before the enclave fell. What is clear, the Secretary-General states, is that his predecessor, senior advisers, the Special Representative and Force Commander were all reluctant to use air power against the Serbs for four main reasons.

They believed that by using air power they would be perceived as having entered the war against them, something not authorized by the Council and potentially fatal for a peacekeeping operation. Second, they risked losing control over the process; once the key was turned they did not know if they would be able to turn it back. That would have grave consequences for the safety of the troops entrusted to them by Member States. Third, they believed that the use of air power would disrupt the primary mission of UNPROFOR: the creation of an environment in which humanitarian aid could be delivered to the civilian population. Fourth, they feared Serb reprisals against peacekeepers.

At the same time, continues the Secretary-General, the Organization was fully aware that the threat of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air power was all it had at its disposal to respond to an attack on the safe areas. It was thus incumbent upon the United Nations to make full use of that deterrent, as it had done in response to Serb attacks upon Sarajevo and Gorazde in February and April 1994, respectively. It was therefore wrong to declare repeatedly and publicly that the United Nations did not want to use air power against the Serbs except as a last resort, and to accept the shelling of the safe areas as a daily occurrence.

The Secretary-General says it was believed there was no choice under Council resolutions but to deploy more peacekeepers into harm’s way. The Serbs knew this, and they timed their attack on Srebrenica well. He says his assessment leaves a number of questions asked about the fall of Srebrenica and the failure of the safe area regime unanswered. The first question concerns the possibility that the Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Serb party, possibly with the knowledge of one or more Contact Group States, had an understanding that Srebrenica would not be vigorously defended by the Bosniacs in return for an undertaking by the Serbs not to vigorously defend territory around Sarajevo. However, the Bosniacs tried to break out of Sarajevo and were repulsed by the Serbs before the Serbs attacked Srebrenica. This would appear to remove any incentive the Bosniac authorities might have had to let the Serbs take Srebrenica.

There is no doubt, the Secretary-General’s report continues, that the capture of Srebrenica and Zepa by the Serbs made it easier for the Bosniacs and Serbs to agree on the territorial basis of a peace settlement. The fact that the result of the tragedy in Srebrenica contributed in some ways to a peace agreement by galvanizing the will of the international community, by distracting the Serbs from the coming Croatian attack, by reducing the vulnerability of UNPROFOR personnel to hostage-taking and by making certain territorial questions easier for the parties to resolve is not evidence of a conspiracy but tragic irony. No evidence reviewed in the process of assembling this report, the Secretary-General adds, suggests that any party, Bosnian or international, engineered or acquiesced in the fall of Srebrenica, other than those who ordered and carried out the attack on it. He believes that human and institutional failings at many levels, rather than wilful conspiracy, account for why the Serbs were not prevented from overrunning the safe area of Srebrenica.

The Secretary-General states that a second question concerns the possibility that the United Nations, or its Member States, had intelligence indicating that a Serb attack on Srebrenica was being prepared. He confirms that the United Nations had no advance knowledge of the Serb offensive. As to whether any intelligence was available to Member States, he has no means of ascertaining that; in any case, none was passed on to the United Nations by those Member States that might have been in a position to assist. No such excuse, however, can explain the Organization’s failure in Zepa. Before they began their advance into that area, the Serbs publicly announced their plans. Zepa was not overrun because of a lack of intelligence, but because the international community lacked the capacity to do anything other than to accept its fall as a fait accompli.

Addressing the role of the Security Council and Member States, the Secretary- General states that many of the errors the United Nations made flowed from a single and no doubt well-intentioned effort: it tried to keep the peace and apply the rules of peacekeeping when there was no peace to keep. The international community decided to respond to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina with an arms embargo, humanitarian aid and the deployment of a peacekeeping force. Those measures were poor substitutes for more decisive and forceful action. The arms embargo did little more than freeze the existing military balance within the former Yugoslavia. It left the Serbs in a position of dominance and deprived Bosnia and Herzegovina of its right, under the Charter, to self-defence.

The Secretary-General states that it was not necessarily a mistake to impose an arms embargo, which after all had been done when Bosnia and Herzegovina was not yet a State Member of the United Nations. Once that was done, however, there should have been some attendant duty to protect Bosnia and Herzegovina, after it became a Member State, from the tragedy that befell it. Nor was the provision of humanitarian aid a sufficient response to ethnic cleansing and to an attempted genocide. The problem, which cried out for a political/military solution, was that a Member of the United Nations, left defenceless because of a United Nations imposed arms embargo, was being dismembered by forces committed to its destruction. That was not a problem with a humanitarian solution.

Neither was the deployment of a peacekeeping force a coherent response to this problem, continues the Secretary-General. None of the conditions for the deployment of peacekeepers had been met: there was no peace agreement or functioning ceasefire; there was no clear will to peace; and there was no clear consent by the belligerents. Nevertheless, the Council decided that a United Nations peacekeeping force would be deployed when there was no peace to keep. The Council obviously expected that the warring parties would respect the authority of the United Nations and would not obstruct or attack its humanitarian operations. However, the old rules of the game no longer held. In such an event, it is clear that the ability to adapt mandates to the reality on the ground is of critical importance to ensuring that the appropriate force under the appropriate structure is deployed. None of that flexibility was present in the management of UNPROFOR.

The Secretary-General says key issue underlying the security of the safe areas was the essential nature of ethnic cleansing. The civilian inhabitants of the enclaves were not the incidental victims of the attackers; their death or removal was the very purpose of the attacks upon them.

The failure to fully comprehend the extent of the Serb war aims may explain in part why the Secretariat and the peacekeeping mission did not react more quickly and decisively when the Serbs initiated their attack on Srebrenica. In fact, rather than attempting to mobilize the international community to support the enclave’s defence, the Security Council was given the impression that the situation was under control, and many believed that to be the case. The day before Srebrenica fell, it was reported that the Serbs were not attacking when they were. It was also reported that the Bosniacs had fired on an UNPROFOR blocking position when it was the Serbs. Urgent requests for air power were not mentioned.

Incomplete and inaccurate information given to the Council can be attributed to problems with reporting from the field, says the Secretary-General. However, the reporting may have been illustrative of a more general tendency to assume that the parties were equally responsible for the transgressions that occurred. It is not clear, in any event, that the provision of more fully accurate information to the Council would have led to appreciably different results. In the end, those Bosnian Serb war aims were ultimately repulsed on the battlefield, and not at the negotiating table. When decisive action was finally taken by UNPROFOR in August and September 1995, it helped to bring the war to a conclusion.

The fall of Srebrenica is replete with lessons for this Organization and its Member States: lessons that must be learned if the Organization was to expect the peoples of the world to place their faith in it. The first of the general lessons is that when peacekeeping operations are used as a substitute for such political consensus they are likely to fail. There is a role for peacekeeping and there is even a role for protected zones and safe havens in certain situations; but peacekeeping and fighting wars are distinct activities which should not be mixed. Peacekeepers must never again be deployed into an environment in which there is no ceasefire or peace agreement. Peacekeepers must never again be told that they must use their peacekeeping tools -- lightly armed soldiers in scattered positions -- to impose the ill-defined wishes of the international community on one or another of the belligerents by military means. If the necessary resources are not provided and the necessary political, military and moral judgements are not made, the job simply cannot be done.

The Secretary-General says that protected zones and safe areas can have a role in protecting civilians in armed conflict, but it is clear that either they must be demilitarized and established by the agreement of the belligerents, or they must be truly safe areas, fully defended by a credible military deterrent. The two concepts are absolutely distinct and must not be confused. It is tempting for critics to blame the UNPROFOR units in Srebrenica for its fall, or to blame the United Nations hierarchy above those units. Certainly, errors of judgement were made -- errors rooted in a philosophy of impartiality and non-violence wholly unsuited to the conflict in Bosnia. That must not divert attention from the more fundamental mistakes. The safe areas were established by the Council without the consent of the parties and without the provision of any credible military deterrent. They were neither protected areas nor safe havens in the sense of international humanitarian law, nor safe areas in any militarily meaningful sense.

The international community must accept its share of responsibility for allowing that tragic course of events by its prolonged refusal to use force in the early stages of the war. That responsibility is shared by the Security Council, the Contact Group and other governments which contributed to the delay in the use of force, as well as by the United Nations Secretariat and the mission in the field. Clearly, the primary and most direct responsibility lies, however, with the architects and implementers of the attempted genocide in Bosnia, some who still remain free men and must be made to answer for the barbaric crimes with which they have been charged.

The cardinal lesson of Srebrenica, the report States, is that a deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorize, expel or murder an entire people must be met decisively with all necessary means, and with the political will to carry the policy through to its logical conclusion. In the Balkans, in this decade, that lesson has had to be learned not once, but twice. In both instances, in Bosnia and in Kosovo, the international community tried to reach a negotiated settlement with an unscrupulous and murderous regime. In both instances, it required the use of force to bring a halt to the planned and systematic killing and expulsion of civilians.

The United Nations experience in Bosnia was one of the most difficult and painful in its history. Through error, misjudgement and an inability to recognize the scope of the evil confronting the United Nations, the Organization failed to do its part to help save the people of Srebrenica from the Serb campaign of mass murder.

To ensure that the lessons detailed in his report are learned, the Secretary- General concludes, Member States should be encouraged to engage in a process of reflection and analysis, focused on the key challenges. The aim would be to clarify and to improve the capacity of the United Nations to respond to various conflicts. He cites such issues as the gulf between mandate and means; the inadequacy of symbolic deterrence in the face of a systematic campaign of violence; the pervasive ambivalence within the United Nations regarding the role of force in the pursuit of peace; an institutional ideology of impartiality even when confronted with attempted genocide; and a range of doctrinal and institutional issues that go to the heart of the United Nations ability to keep the peace and help protect civilian populations from armed conflict.

Draft Resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina

By the terms of a draft resolution on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (document A/54/L.63/Rev.1), the Assembly would demand that all parties facilitate the full implementation of all aspects of the New York Declaration, adopted on 15 November, including, in particular, the Principles on the Establishment of a State Border Service, in a timely manner.

It would stress the importance of the meeting of Heads of State and Government at the summit level to launch the Stability Pact for South-eastern Europe in Sarajevo on 29 and 30 July, and would endorse the concept of “ownership” as presented by the High Representative, whereby the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular their political leaders, should assume more responsibility in the process of the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The Assembly would also insist upon the need to surrender all indictees to the International Tribunal for trial, would note that the Tribunal has the authority to address individual responsibility for the perpetration of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and would demand that all the parties fulfil their obligations to hand over to the Tribunal all indicted persons in territories under their control and otherwise to comply fully with the orders of the Tribunal and to cooperate with the work of the Tribunal, with all relevant Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Peace Agreement and its annexes, in particular the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It would also stress the importance of establishing, strengthening and expanding throughout all of Bosnia and Herzegovina free and pluralistic media, would deplore any action that seeks to intimidate or restrict the freedom of the media and would condemn violent acts of intimidation against journalists.

The Assembly would also endorse the package of property law reforms imposed by the High Representative on 27 October aimed at harmonizing the laws in the two entities in order to enable refugees and displaced persons to return to their pre- war homes, as well as the subsequent action by the High Representative to ensure full implementation of the property implementation package, and would call upon the entity parliaments to formally adopt those laws and to contribute actively to their swift implementation.

It would stress the need for a more comprehensive approach to economic reform, which should contribute to a more homogeneous development of the economy and trade in the two entities and across the inter-entity boundary line, and would also stress the importance of establishing an economic programme which should include the creation of a framework for private-sector development, including privatization and improvement of foreign investment conditions, the restructuring of banking and capital markets, the reform of the financial system and an adequate social protection.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

Coordination of United Nations Humanitarian and Relief Assistance

When the Assembly met, MARJATTA RASI (Finland), speaking for the European Union and the other co-sponsors, introduced two draft resolutions. She said there were additional co-sponsor to the draft on safety and security of humanitarian personnel (document A/54/l.70): Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova and Thailand. She said that in the second line of the seventh preambular paragraph, the word “in” should be inserted after the words “armed conflicts and” and before the words “post-conflict situations”. In the first line of the thirteenth preambular paragraph, the words “consideration for” should be inserted after the words “requirement that” and before “appropriate modalities”.

She said, the numerous incidents in which humanitarian personnel had lost their lives during this year had again testified to the intolerable level of risk often involved in humanitarian action. That seriously hindered the ability and effectiveness of the Organization to provide protection and assistance to civilians. Without safe and secure access for humanitarian personnel, the suffering of civilians and vulnerable populations could only increase. The aim of the co-sponsors had been to strengthen the text of the resolution from last year to reflect the sense of urgency with regard to measures needed to enhance the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, including locally recruited personnel.

Turning to the draft resolution on the assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/54/L.52), she said the General Assembly called upon the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs. Moreover, she hoped that the appointment of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority would have a positive impact on questions related to assistance to the Palestinian people.

VASSILI A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), introducing the draft on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/54/L.66), said its adoption would be timely. The current winter would test the capacity of humanitarian organizations to respond to real needs. Damaged infrastructure and scarcity made the country reliant on external help. The situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a complex humanitarian emergency that affected the whole region.

One of the first positive steps was made in the recent agreed conclusions of the Economic and Social Council in its humanitarian segment. He stressed the importance of a coherent regional strategy and a coordinated approach by the United Nations. He drew attention to the report of the special rapporteur on prevention of attacks to ethnic minorities. The leaders of KFOR and UNMIK should pay special attention to those issues. He hoped the draft would be adopted without a vote.

VOLODYMYR YEL’CHENKO (Ukraine), introducing the draft on economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by the Balkans crisis (document A/54/L.67), said its purpose was to help those countries to solve their special economic problems, particularly in the areas of trade and economic relations, as well as to enable resumption of navigating the Danube River. The Secretary-General had stressed the urgency of that assistance.

JOHN VON KAUFMANN (Canada), introducing the draft on assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for East Timor, (document A/54/L.68), stated it reflected the commitment of the international community to support the crucial humanitarian assistance and emergency rehabilitation component of the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). To achieve that objective, safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to all East Timorese in need must be guaranteed. Furthermore, the draft emphasized the need to ensure that displaced and refugee East Timorese would be able to exercise their right to voluntarily return to East Timor or resettle elsewhere.

LAMUEL A. STANISLAUS (Grenada), introducing the draft on emergency assistance to countries affected by hurricanes José and Lenny (document A/54/L.69), said the cost of restoring infrastructure and of rehabilitating productive sectors, particularly in agriculture and tourism, rendered attaining sustainable development in those islands a Herculean task. As soon as they recovered, they were hit again. It occurred as some small island developing States were graduating from concessional loan arrangements and other development financing transactions. The magnitude of efforts needed for rebuilding were beyond the ability of those States to undertake alone, so he was appealing to the international community for immediate assistance in developing, financing and executing a holistic approach to medium- and long-term planning to restore structural and financial viability to affected islands.

Action on Drafts

The Assembly deferred voting on the draft on safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/54/L.70) to accommodate a review of the programme budget implications.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted six draft resolutions on: international assistance to and cooperation with the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America (document A/54/L.29/Rev.1); humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document A/54/L.66); economic assistance to the Eastern European States affected by developments in the Balkans (document A/54/L.67); assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development of East Timor (document A/54/L.68); emergency assistance to countries affected by hurricanes José and Lenny (document A/54/L.69); and assistance to the Palestinian people (document A/54/L.52).

Speaking in explanation of vote, WILLIAM MARSH (United States) said his country had reluctantly joined the consensus on humanitarian assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It regretted the change in the nomenclature used in the General Assembly. In previous years, and earlier action of the current Assembly, the State in question had been correctly referred to as “Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)”. The Assembly should be consistent with that practice; such nomenclature reinforced the point that the current State of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not the successor State for the former, and no longer existent, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He said Slobodan Milosevic and his “undemocratic regime” were directly responsible for Serbia’s isolation from the international community.

BALI MONIAGA (Indonesia) said his country had joined the consensus on the draft resolution on humanitarian relief for East Timor. It had worked to move the process forward by accommodating all aspects of humanitarian assistance. Adoption of the draft would help alleviate the plight of the East Timorese because it recognized the important principles of humanitarian assistance, as well as his country’s contribution to solve the problems on the ground. He said, Indonesia was also working to accelerate the return of refugees to East Timor, and with their return to begin the process of stability and development which was so urgently needed.

RANDA RIZK (Syria), referring to the text on help for the Palestinian people, said she supported the operative paragraphs calling for assistance to the Palestinian people to develop and improve their condition. However, some paragraphs did not reflect the difficulties faced in the peace process. Moreover, the path to economic and social development required the end of Israel’s continuing occupation and colonial policies.

CHAIM SHACHAM (Israel) said he welcomed the efforts of Member States, international financial institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to aid the development efforts of the Palestinian people. Israel had been fully cooperating with United Nations agencies in this regard, but its participation in the consensus on the draft should not be construed as implying any position regarding the present status of the areas referred to as “occupied territories”. Nor did its support did not imply any position regarding the permanent status of those territories which, in accordance with all Israeli- Palestinian issues, was a matter to be negotiated.

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said he was encouraged by the positive attitude of the Indonesian Government in formulating the resolution on East Timor, since friendly relations with neighbouring countries would be important for East Timor’s future peace and prosperity. As an expression of his Government’s commitment to the East Timorese, the Japanese Diet had recently approved a supplementary budget for about $200 million to assist East Timor. Also, a meeting for reconciliation was recently held in Tokyo and attended by representatives of both sides -– those in favour of independence and those who favoured integration.

Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said he welcomed the draft on help for States affected by developments in the Balkans as an important step in recognizing that an integrated approach was necessary, when dealing with regional problems such as the events in former Yugoslavia. Only a comprehensive coordinated approach by the world community would provide solutions to the region's problems, and guarantee development. It was crucial that the economic needs of countries in the Balkans, as well as those outside which had been affected by events in the region, be recognized and addressed.

MARWAN A. JILANI, Observer for Palestine, said he regretted the statement made by Israel on the text on assistance to the Palestinian people. Peace negotiations, as well as interim agreements, were built on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which both stressed the principle of the inadmissibility of acquiring land by force. In addition, the representative of Israel, during his statement, could not even bring himself to mention the presence of a Palestinian people.

Mr. SHACHAM (Israel) said it was the common interest of all the parties to aspire to the language of peace and the dialogue of reconciliation in both the negotiating room and the General Assembly. In its pursuit of a new code of conduct, Israel would take this opportunity to not reply to the Observer for Palestine.

The President of the Assembly, THEO-BEN GURIRAB (Namibia), informed members that other draft resolutions relating to strengthening the coordination of humanitarian assistance would be submitted for consideration and action by the Assembly at date to be announced in the Journal.

He also informed the Assembly that the following agenda items would also be taken up on Friday afternoon: Afghanistan; the question of the Comorian island of Mayotte; and the question of East Timor. He added that a draft resolution on East Timor would be issued as document A/54/L.73 tomorrow morning.

Further Action on Drafts

OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway), introducing the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) (document A/54/L.64), said that intensified cooperation during the past year had occurred by design, and had also been driven by necessity. It was a result of increasing demands on the ground, with the situation in Kosovo posing the greatest joint challenge in that period. The increasing scope of cooperation between the two organizations was reflected in the draft resolution. At the OSCE summit, the Secretary-General had described the cooperation as a model of what could be achieved worldwide. His Foreign Minister Vollebaek had expressed the hope that the new form of cooperation could serve as a model for other parts of the world.

ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan) said it had become a sad tradition that, year after year, his delegation had been forced to amend a draft resolution on the question of cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE. This was the fourth time. The reasons for the proposed amendment were still valid. He regretted that despite the fact that the Security Council and the Secretary-General had ascertained that Nagorny Karabakh was an integral part of Azerbaijan territory, the Chairman of the OSCE, in his statement to the Assembly on 6 December, had not only failed to reaffirm this fact, but also omitted to mention the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in and around that area.

It was as a result of that conflict, he added, that 20 per cent of the territory of Azerbaijan, not Armenia, were still under occupation, and it was his country that had to cope with the humanitarian emergency brought about by an exodus of 1 million refugees and displaced persons. He called on Member States to reaffirm their fundamental support for Azerbaijan by adopting its amendment contained in draft resolution A/54/L65, as they that done in the last three years.

MOVSES ABELIAN (Armenia) said that since 1992 the OSCE had been actively involved through the various permutations of the Minsk process to define the elements for a durable peace and stability. Armenia had accepted the recent proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group as a more realistic effort in addressing the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabagh, with minimal prejudice to either of the competing claims. Regrettably, Azerbaijan had rejected those proposals. However, he hoped that the intensified dialogue between the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan would enhance the peace process and help to bring about a lasting and comprehensive solution to the problem.

He said Armenia fully supported operative paragraph 16, relating to dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, considering it the most realistic and objective reflection of the current developments. On the other hand, the amendment offered by Azerbaijan (document A/54/L.65) imposed a compulsory framework on the peace negotiations.

Ms. RASI (Finland), for the European Union, regretted that a vote of the draft could not have been taken without an amendment. She would have preferred the resolution to focus on the strengthening of relations between the OSCE and the United Nations.

The European Union wished to reiterate it support for the Istanbul Declaration but would abstain from voting for the amendment. It would vote in favour of the draft resolution.

GUSTAVO DELGADO (United States) said the three Minsk Group co-chairs of the OSCE -- France, Russian Federation and his country -- believed, due to their role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, that "we should abstain on any amendment to the language agreed by all OSCE member States in Istanbul". He said today's abstention in no way altered "our commitment to a negotiated settlement of this conflict" in a manner that respects the territorial integrity of all the States in the region, as well as other relevant United Nations and OSCE principles, he said

The Assembly, by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 1 against (Armenia), with 54 abstentions, first adopted the amendment introduced by Azerbaijan (document A/54/L.65) to the draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE (document A/54/L.64). (See Annex I.)

By a recorded vote of 124 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Armenia, China), the Assembly then went on to adopt draft resolution A/54/L.64 as amended. (See Annex II.)

Situation in Central America

Acting without a vote, the Assembly then adopted a resolution on the situation in Central America; procedures for the establishment of a firm and lasting peace and progress in fashioning a region of peace, freedom, democracy and development (document A/54/L.24/Rev.1).

General and Complete Disarmament

By a recorded vote of 96 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation), with 11 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the eighth preambular paragraph of draft resolution Q entitled "small arms" contained in the report of the First Committee on general and complete disarmament (document A/54/663) (see Annex III).

The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Lebanon, Russian Federation), draft resolution Q as a whole as amended (see Annex IV).

M. BRUNET (France) said he had already expressed his position in the Committee and, therefore, there was no reason to repeat it.

Prince ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan), introducing the draft (document A/54/L.63/Rev.1) on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, made some revisions to operative paragraph 15 of the text, and said these countries had become co- sponsors: Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, France, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, United Kingdom the and United States.

He said the draft resolution expressed support to the advancement of the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Operative paragraph 15, he said, was the most significant of all. It was divided into six parts, and he reviewed their contents. The general structure of the text was in keeping with other resolutions that had been adopted previously. He reviewed some points of the resolution, noting that, with regard to refugees, much remained to be done.

IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his country was concerned by the increased feeling of alienation among the Bosnian Croats. The Bosnian legislature must protect the equality of the three constituent nations, in conformity with its Constitution. Such protection should be reflected in the electoral law and the support of national cultural institutions. The return of minority groups in both entities of Bosnia was crucial to post-war reconciliation and rebuilding. It was, unfortunately, proceeding slowly, and, in may cases, not at all. Adoption of the property laws, which would enable the return of property to refugees, was of critical importance if the return process was to succeed.

While many atrocities were committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, only a few people responsible for criminal acts against humanity had been apprehended and tried. Those responsible for the most grievous crimes were still at large. Although the Republika Srpska recently displayed its first signs of cooperation, major perpetrators of war crimes were still at large. That entity was harbouring Mile Martic, a high-ranking perpetrator of war crimes in Croatia.

He said that even though they were the primary targets of war crimes, Croats and Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina still made up the majority of persons in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Moreover, despite ample evidence and repeated calls by his Government, the Tribunal had still not brought a single indictment against persons responsible for crimes specifically targeted against the Bosnian Croats. Unless sufficient action was taken with regard to those events, the objective of dispensing justice and a truthful historical account of the events could not be achieved.

The Secretary-General's report of Srebrenica would, hopefully, shape the future of the United Nations. The exposure of the Organization's weaknesses in peacekeeping would only serve to benefit it. Little economic opportunity was being created in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and foreign assistance remained focused on humanitarian aid. Shifting priorities towards creating a positive economic and investment environment should be the aim of both domestic politicians and international community representatives.

He said the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be highly influenced by general developments in south-eastern Europe. The borders that existed between the States created after the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must be accepted and respected as definite and unchangeable. His country would continue to play its part in the process of stabilizing the region. Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina had recognized the importance of their role in creating, together with Bosniacs and Serbs, a sovereign and democratic State of their own and would continue to receive all Croatia's support in that endeavour.

Ms. RASI (Finland), speaking for the European Union, said many positive developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina were encouraging. Peace remained, reconstruction was advancing, and more displaced persons were coming home. However, much more needed to be done, and it should be remembered that there was no alternative to the Peace Agreement as the foundation of the political and economic development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She welcomed the Joint Presidency’s reaffirmed commitment to the Peace Agreement and the important moves intended to further its aims.

She said the European Union had contributed more than any other donor to the reconstruction, technical assistance and humanitarian effort, and continued to offer assistance, but this was conditional on compliance with the Peace Agreement and on commitment to democratic principles.

The European Union demanded that all those indicted for war crimes should be brought to justice, and fully supported the work of the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia. Further, she reaffirmed the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop a self-sustaining economy and reiterated support of the European Union for the efforts of the High Representative, to counter obstructionist conduct against the Peace Agreement.

FAWZI BIN ABDUL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said the report of the Secretary-General reviewed the role of the United Nations during the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in particular in satisfying humanitarian needs and in providing a safe environment for the return of refugees.

Despite the Dayton peace agreements, the return of the refugees to their homes was still a matter of concern. It was important to ensure their return. It was necessary to arrest those responsible for humanitarian crimes. The achievement of results required continuing financial and political support.

DONALD HAYS (United States) said intolerance was at the heart of the Balkan crisis. Overcoming such a legacy of ethnic strife was essential for the successful implementation of the Dayton Accords. The three members of the Bosnian Joint Presidency announced their intention to create the infrastructure of governance that was the foundation of a democratic society. However, those concerned by the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina knew that there were still major obstacles to overcome, as reflected in the resolution today.

He said that although many refugees and displaced persons had come back to the entity, the total so far had been insufficient. Much more must be done in the crucial area of urban returns to minority areas. The creation of a multi-ethnic society was inextricably linked with the evolution of good government in Bosnia. The international community must continue to encourage both developments. That, in turn, would help the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to face the enormous challenges posed by crime and corruption.

ANDRÉ ERDOS (Hungary) said that as a member of the Security Council, his country had been witness to the tragic and brutal events of 1992-1993 in Bosnia. Although the facts of the Secretary-General’s report were by now well known, what gave it credibility and significance was the dramatic story of the enclave of Srebrenica.

In his many years in the United Nations, he continued, this was the first time he had been touched by the openness of the report. In reading the report, he had felt the same torment and frustration and had asked the same question why? Why had the international community not intervened earlier as it witnessed the nightmare that was befalling former Yugoslavia? He felt it necessary to ask these questions because he had been a participant as a member of the Security Council and as a national of a country in Central Europe which was close to all these events. He never would have imagined such events taking place, and it had made him humble. He agreed with the Secretary-General’s assertion that, while recognizing impartiality, he was against blind neutrality.

He asserted that in the case of Bosnia and Srebrenica, the United Nations had made errors of judgement, which were unconnected with the disagreements among Security Council members. The Organization needed to set up a credible military deterrent which it should be prepared to use when needed, in order to avoid events such as those that occurred in the former Yugoslavia. Murderous regimes should also be judged for what they were.

The international community must learn from these events and ensure that there would not be intolerance among ethnic groups. Hungary was convinced that the consolidation of peace and democratization could be seen and developed only in a global approach to the whole region, and it was, therefore, committed to promoting their success.

MOHAMMAD HASSAN FADAIFARD (Iran) said the presence of three members of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Security Council last September showed that the joint nature of the presidency had begun to function in practice. Current efforts needed to be continued, even redoubled, so that pending issues could be dealt with rapidly, and the peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina thereby consolidated.

However, there were still a number of underlying challenges to be overcome. Those included short-sighted views by certain groups and parties, and existing ethnic divisions. Surmounting those challenges demanded greater efforts on the part of the leadership and principal forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to achieve increased democracy, tolerance and reconciliation among the different ethnic communities.

He said the main issues to be addressed to facilitate viable statehood for Bosnia and Herzegovina were: return of refugees and displaced persons, in particular the return of peoples to areas in which they were a minority; reconciliation among different ethnic communities; minority protection; economic reforms and recovery; and freedom of movement of people, goods, services and information throughout the country.

He said indicted war criminals continued to remain free, and then disrupted the political affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That continued freedom sent the wrong political message. It contributed to a climate of insecurity that limited refuge returns, particularly in minority areas. The arrest and prosecution of those indicted war criminals would not only serve justice, but would also contribute to accomplishing the long-term goals of national reconciliation, which alone could guarantee Bosnia and Herzegovina freedom from the ghosts of its tragic past.

GENNADY GATILOV (Russian Federation) said the achievement of stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina constituted a major task. Responsibility for peace lay with the Bosnians themselves since the international community, though its support was important, could not build a peaceful Bosnia for its inhabitants. He said the positive changes reached so far confirmed the need for a lasting mutual reconciliation. Cooperation between the communities and with the United Nations was necessary, particularly in regard to some unresolved questions such as the fight against corruption, and the return of refugees and displaced persons.

He said the existence of three armies constituted a concern, since it did not promote integration. He also said that international institutions must operate in compliance with their mandate. On the report of the Secretary-General, he asked to what extent bringing back old wounds could contribute to reconciliation. He said responsibility could not be put just on one side. NATO had violated the principles of the Security Council and it was important to learn a lesson from that. He said the Russian Federation continued to make contributions to the peace process, on the basis of the Dayton Agreement.

MOHAMMAD KAMAL YAN YAHAYA (Malaysia) said there had been significant progress in the peace implementation process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, there was much still to be done to resolve the remaining critical problems, to ensure that peace and stability would endure in the region. The international community had accorded the return of refugees in all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of the highest priorities in the peace implementation, which was imperative for reconciliation in the country. The slow process, in particular the return of people to areas where they would be an ethnic minority, was still a matter of serious concern.

There were other challenges, such as the entrenched positions of certain political parties and the deep ethnic divisions that still existed. The success of international involvement in the region could be guaranteed only if there was strong commitment of and full cooperation from the Bosnia leadership and people at every level.

He also said that the continued freedom enjoyed by the leading indicted war criminals sent the wrong political message and contributed to the climate of insecurity that limited refugee returns, particularly in minority areas. The arrest and prosecution of all indicted war criminals did not only serve to mete out justice but also contributed towards accomplishing the long-term goal of national reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said the pace of the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement was far from ideal, especially on the return of refugees which remained a central element of the peace process. National reconciliation was a prerequisite for sustained positive development in the country, and the International Tribunal played an important role in that difficult process. It was unacceptable that certain parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina seemed to have become safe havens for persons indicted by the Tribunal, in defiance of numerous Security Council resolutions. It also undermined one of the foundations of the peace process.

He said that while the international community had impressively assumed its collective responsibility for reconstruction and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it had not always been that way. The events leading to, as well as those taking place after, the fall of Srebrenica in summer 1995 had been haunting the Organization and the country's population since then. Only an open and critical account and analysis of the events would enable closure. While it was necessary to recognize the collective and individual responsibilities for the events connected with Srebrenica, blame should not be attributed. Rather the Organization should be prepared to live up to its future responsibilities. For the victims, justice could only be done when those who committed the atrocities were convicted by the International Tribunal.

INAM-UL-HAQUE (Pakistan) said there could be no durable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina unless it was consciously and carefully nurtured by the people who would be its main beneficiaries. The basic requirement was to re-establish mutual trust and to overcome the deep-seated hatred that manifested itself during the war. That was difficult since there was an absence of sincere commitment, particularly on the part of the Serbian community. He said that while the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina had fulfilled its obligations to a large extent, the Republika Srpska was lagging behind in vital areas, including in the return of refugees and displaced persons, and cooperation with the International Tribunal. He said war criminals must be apprehended. He was concerned that most of those persons remained at large, mostly in the Republika Sprska and Serbia.

He said the revival of Bosnia's economic and social structure needed sustained support of the international community. A comprehensive approach to economic reform which would contribute to homogenous development of economy and trade in the area was essential, he added.

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Amendment to Draft on OSCE and United Nations

The amendment (document A/54/L.65) to the draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was adopted by a recorded vote of 55 in favour to 1 against, with 54 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against: Armenia.

Abstain: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United Kingdom, United States.

Absent: Andorra, Angola, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Syria, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Cooperation between United Nations and OSCE

The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE (document A/54/L.64), as amended, was adopted by a recorded vote of 124 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against: None.

Abstain: Armenia, China.

Absent: Angola, Bahamas, Belize, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Tonga, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX II)

ANNEX III

Vote on Preambular Paragraph in Text on Small Arms

The eighth preambular paragraph of draft resolution Q entitled “small arms” in the First Committee report (document A/54/663) was adopted by a recorded vote of 96 in favour to 1 against, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against: Russian Federation.

Abstain: Azerbaijan, France, India, Israel, Monaco, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.

Absent: Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

(END OF ANNEX III)

ANNEX IV

Vote on Draft Resolution on Small Arms

The Assembly adopted draft resolution Q entitled “small arms” in the First Committee report (document A/54/663), by a recorded vote of 119 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen.

Against: None.

Abstain: Lebanon, Russian Federation.

Absent: Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Belarus, Belize, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tonga, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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