11/10/2002
Press Release
SC/7527



Security Council

4622nd Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES FINAL EXTENSION OF PREVLAKA PENINSULA MISSION;


WITHDRAWAL WILL BE COMPLETED BY END OF YEAR


The Security Council this morning authorized the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka Peninsula for a final period of two months, until 15 December.


By unanimously adopting resolution 1437 (2002), the Council also requested the Secretary-General to prepare for the termination of the Mission's mandate by gradually reducing the number of personnel and otherwise, adjusting its activities to reflect stable conditions in the area.


By other terms of that resolution, the Council called on the parties to cooperate fully with the observers, urging them, in addition, to accelerate efforts towards a negotiated settlement in accordance with article 4 of the Agreement of Normalization of Relations.


The Council opened its meeting at 10:21 a.m. and adjourned at 10:25 a.m.


The full text of the resolution reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling all its earlier relevant resolutions, including resolutions 779 (1992) of 6 October 1992, 981 (1995) of 31 March 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1147 (1998) of 13 January 1998, 1183 (1998) of 15 July 1998, 1222 (1999) of 15 January 1999, 1252 (1999) of 15 July 1999, 1285 (2000) of 13 January 2000, 1307 (2000) of 13 July 2000, 1335 (2001) of 12 January 2001, 1357 (2001) of

21 June 2001, 1362 (2001) of 11 July 2001, 1387 (2002) of 15 January 2002 and 1424 (2002) of 12 July 2002,


Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 2 October 2002 (S/2002/1101) on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP),


Reaffirming once again its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia within its internationally recognized borders,


Noting once again the Joint Declaration signed at Geneva on 30 September 1992 by the Presidents of the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular articles 1 and 3 thereof the latter reaffirming their


agreement concerning the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, and the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 23 August 1996 (S/1996/706, annex),


Noting with satisfaction that the overall situation in the UNMOP area of responsibility has remained stable and calm, and encouraged by the progress made by the parties in normalizing their bilateral relationship, in particular through negotiations aimed at finding a transitional arrangement for the Prevlaka peninsula,


Commending the role played by UNMOP, and noting also that the presence of the United Nations military observers continues to be important in maintaining conditions that are conducive to a negotiated settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka,


Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention of the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994 and the statement of its President of 10 February 2000 (S/PRST/2000/4),


“1.Authorizes UNMOP to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, as a last extension of its mandate, until 15 December 2002;


“2.Requests the Secretary-General to prepare for the termination of UNMOP's mandate on 15 December 2002 by gradually reducing the number of personnel and concentrating its activities in a way that reflects the stable and peaceful conditions in the area and the normalization of relations between the parties;


“3.Also requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the completion of UNMOP's mandate;


“4.Reiterates its calls upon the parties to comply with the demilitarized regime in the United Nations designated zones, to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers and to ensure their safety and full and unrestricted freedom of movement;


“5.Welcomes continuing progress in the normalization of relations between the Governments of the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the establishment of an interstate Border Commission, and urges the parties to accelerate efforts towards a negotiated settlement on the disputed issue of Prevlaka in accordance with article 4 of the Agreement on Normalization of Relations;


“6.Expresses its readiness to review the duration of the authority given in paragraph 1 above, with a view to shortening the time frame, if the parties so request;


“7.Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


Background


When the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Croatia, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) (document S/2002/1101), covering developments since 28 June, in which the Secretary-General recommends to extend the Mission for a period of two months, until 15 December, without change to the concept of operations and with the Mission preparing for its withdrawal to commence thereafter and to be completed by 31 December.


According to the report, UNMOP continued to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula and the neighbouring areas in Croatia and Yugoslavia.  The situation in the demilitarized and United Nations-controlled zones remained stable and calm, although, in continuing violation of the security regime in the United Nations-controlled zone, nine Croatian police and two Montenegrin Border Police officers were usually stationed at one position in the zone.  Croatia and Montenegro also continued to operate checkpoints in the United Nations-controlled zone for the purpose of implementing a crossing regime.  With minor exceptions, both parties respected the demilitarized zone during the reporting period.


The Secretary-General reports he is encouraged by the commitment of the parties to resolve their dispute over Prevlaka through meetings of the Interstate Diplomatic Commission and by other bilateral means.  It is apparent that the parties are working in good faith to reach an interim agreement aimed at normalizing the situation on the ground.  The Secretary-General is convinced that the parties will be able to narrow their remaining differences, in the near future, to the point where the presence of UNMOP is no longer needed.


The UNMOP was established in January 1996 to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, a strategic area disputed by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  However, United Nations military observers have been deployed there since October 1992, first as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), and subsequently as part of the United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation (UNCRO).


The Council established UNMOP following the Secretary-General's recommendation that monitoring on the peninsula continue, when UNCRO's mandate was terminated on 15 January 1996.  Extensions to its mandate have been dependent on his reporting that its presence will continue to help decrease tension.


The UNMOP currently has 27 military observers.  While it is an independent Mission, it is treated as part of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) for administrative and budgetary purposes.


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