16 November 2000


Press Release
SC/6952



SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES STRONG SUPPORT FOR SOLOMON ISLANDS PEACE AGREEMENT

20001116

The Security Council this morning expressed its strong support for a peace agreement concluded on 15 October for the cessation of the hostilities between two groups -- the Malaita Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement -- on Solomon Islands.

In a statement read by Council President, Peter Van Walsum (Netherlands) the Council also expressed support for the restoration of peace and ethnic harmony in Solomon Islands, and encouraged all parties to cooperate in promoting reconciliation, so that the objectives of the Townsville Peace Agreement could be met. It urged all parties to cooperate to restore and maintain peace, and to renounce the use of armed force and violence, settle their differences through consultation and confirm their respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The Council also commended those countries that had supported resolution of the conflict and welcomed the establishment, as per the agreement, of the International Peace Monitoring Team, composed of unarmed military personnel and civilian police from Australia and New Zealand.

A 10 November letter to the Council from the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands (document S/2000/1088) contains a copy of the Peace Agreement. As described in the Agreement, the hostilities began in late April 1998 when armed groups of Guadalcanal youths -– eventually publicly known as the Isatabu Freedom Movement -- angry about perceived government inaction in addressing grievances, evicted from Guadalcanal settlers from other islands, resulting in the displacement of approximately 20,000 Malaitans.

The Solomon Islands Government subsequently secured several agreements in an attempt at a peaceful resolution, but failed to resolve the grievances of the displaced Malaitans and the Malaita Eagle Force took up arms in January 2000. Skirmishes between the two groups continued throughout the year and the Prime Minister was placed under house arrest by the Malaita Eagle Force, leading to his resignation on 28 June 2000 and a new government. The Government negotiated a ceasefire in early August and the subsequent Peace Agreement, which applies to the Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces, including Honiara.

The Council meeting began at 10:35 a.m. and adjourned at 10:37 a.m.


Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6952 4224th Meeting (AM) 16 November 2000

The full text of the Presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/2000/PRST/32, reads as follows:

“The Security Council strongly supports the Townsville Peace Agreement, concluded on 15 October 2000 (S/2000/1088), for the cessation of hostilities between the Malaita Eagle Force and the Isatabu Freedom Movement and for the restoration of peace and ethnic harmony in Solomon Islands.

“The Security Council encourages all parties to cooperate in promoting reconciliation, so that the objectives of the Townsville Peace Agreement can be met, and urges all parties to continue to cooperate in accordance with the Townsville Peace Agreement, namely, to restore and maintain peace and ethnic harmony, to renounce the use of armed force and violence, to settle their differences through consultation and peaceful negotiation and to confirm their respect for human rights and the rule of law.

“The Security Council commends those countries in the region who have supported the resolution of the conflict, and welcomes the establishment, as outlined in the Townsville Peace Agreement, of the International Peace Monitoring Team composed of unarmed military personnel and civilian police from Australia and New Zealand, the mandate of which is based on Annex II of the said Agreement and agreed by the parties. It also encourages other nations, in particular those in the region, to participate and assist in the implementation of this peace agreement.”

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