SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANDS SIZE, MANDATE OF TAJIKISTAN MISSION
SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANDS SIZE, MANDATE OF TAJIKISTAN MISSION
SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANDS SIZE, MANDATE OF TAJIKISTAN MISSION19971114 The Security Council this morning expanded the size and the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) to enhance the Mission's ability to assist in the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, which was signed on 27 June.
By unanimously adopting resolution 1138 (1997), the Council authorized the Secretary-General to increase the number of United Nations military observers in Tajikistan from 45 to 120 and to strengthen the Mission's civilian component. The Council also extended the Mission's mandate until 15 May 1998.
Under its expanded mandate, UNMOT will investigate ceasefire violations and report its findings to the United Nations and to the Commission on National Reconciliation, the main body through which the parties -- the Government of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition -- are working to implement the Agreement. The UNMOT will also: monitor the assembly of fighters of the United Tajik Opposition and their reintegration, disarmament and demobilization; and assist in the reintegration of ex-combatants into governmental power structures or demobilization. The UNMOT will also provide good offices and expert advice as stipulated in the General Agreement and cooperate with the Commission on National Reconciliation, its subcommittees and Commission on Elections and the Holding of Referendum.
The Security Council welcomed the parties' serious efforts to carry out their commitments under the General Agreement and noted with appreciation the agreement of the parties to form a joint security unit to provide security for UNMOT personnel. Also, the Council called on the parties to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of personnel of the United Nations, the peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States and other international personnel also serving in the country.
Welcoming the convening of an international donor conference in Vienna on 24 and 25 November to obtain international support for the Agreement's implementation, the Council encouraged Member States to respond generously and contribute to the success of the peace process.
Before taking action on the draft resolution, statements were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, United States, Japan, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Republic of Korea, Portugal, Chile, Poland, Kenya, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and China. The representative of Tajikistan also made a statement to the Council.
The meeting began at 11:59 a.m. and adjourned at 1:10 p.m.
When the Security Council met today to consider the situation in Tajikistan and the status of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), it had before it the report of the Secretary-General (S/1997/859) in which he reviews progress towards implementing the 27 June General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan, signed by the Tajikistan Government and the United Tajik Opposition.
The Secretary-General reports that while large parts of Tajikistan were relatively calm and the ceasefire between the parties was firmly maintained during the past two months, the level of violence in Dushanbe and around the capital remained high. Due to the continued violence, the safety of United Nations personnel in Tajikistan remains an important concern. That concern would be heightened if the Security Council chose to expand UNMOT's mandate and increase the United Nations military observers from their current level of 45 to 120, as had been outlined by the Secretary-General in his prior report of 4 September (document S/1997/686).
Nonetheless, substantive progress towards addressing those security concerns had been made during the reporting period, leading the Secretary- General to recommend in his current report that the Council expand UNMOT's mandate as proposed in his September report. Reviewing positive developments, the Secretary-General reports on the agreement recently reached between the President of Tajikistan and the leader of the United Tajik Opposition to form a joint security unit to provide security for United Nations personnel, which is expected to be operational by month's end. The Secretary-General also welcomes the decision of the Commonwealth of Independent States to authorize its peacekeeping force in Tajikistan to provide security to the United Nations on request.
The Secretary-General had said in his September report that the ability of UNMOT to carry out the additional tasks relative to the General Agreement was contingent on ensuring its personnel could perform their duties unhindered and safely. Following the Security Council's consideration of his September report, it adopted resolution 1128 (1997) by which it extended UNMOT's mandate until 15 November and took note of the recommendations on the Mission's expansion, requesting that it be kept informed on solutions to the security problem.
Detailing new security arrangements, the Secretary-General informs the Council that the joint security unit will provide armed escorts and transports for UNMOT, mainly in the area from Dushanbe to Komsomolabad, an area stretching approximately 75 miles to the northeast from the capital. The unit will consist of two infantry companies and will be formally established by presidential decree. Rules of engagement for the unit have been prepared, as have standard operating procedures and a training programme. The United Nations Mission will support the unit with communications equipment, rations and fuel. The Secretary-General had informed the Council through a letter dated 20 October (document S/1997/808) of the parties agreement to form the unit.
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Under the expanded mandate outlined by the Secretary-General in September, UNMOT would promote peace and the implementation of the General Agreement by: providing good offices and expert advice; monitoring the current ceasefire; and cooperating with the Central Commission on Elections and the Holding of a Referendum. The Mission would monitor the United Tajik Opposition fighters and their reintegration, disarmament and demobilization. It would also provide initial assistance for the reintegration into the governmental power structure or demobilization of ex-combatants, as well as coordinate United Nations assistance to Tajikistan during the transition period.
To carry out its expanded tasks, UNMOT's civilian component would be strengthened significantly, according to the Secretary-General's proposal. The civil affairs component would be increased and additional expertise added in the area of public law and human rights law, police electoral affairs and coordination of international assistance for implementing the General Agreement. The Secretary-General also called for the establishment of an effective public information capacity to assist in keeping the Tajik population, as well as the international community, informed of relevant developments during this critical period.
The Council established UNMOT in 1994 to assist the Tajik parties in fulfilling their commitments to the process of national reconciliation and the promotion of democracy by providing good offices and monitoring the ceasefire agreement. The small mission of military observers and civilian staff has served as a stabilizing factor as efforts to secure peace in Tajikistan were pursued.
In his present report, the Secretary-General informs the Council that the first session of the Commission on National Reconciliation was convened on 11 September in Dushanbe. The Commission on National Reconciliation is the main organ through which the Tajik parties intend to implement the General Agreement, and its functioning is vital to the success of the peace plan. While the Agreement and its protocols constitute a broad mandate for political change, they do not themselves provide a detailed blueprint. For that reason, it has been left to the Commission to work out the solutions to many issues relating to implementation and other matters needing address.
During its first session, the Commission took up its first task as foreseen in the General Agreement, that of establishing subcommissions on political, legal, military and refugee issues. During that session, progress was achieved in the areas of: exchange of prisoners of war and detainees; the registration of the United Tajik Opposition inside the country; and the
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repatriation of refugees from Afghanistan. Also, the Commission adopted an ambitious programme of work and a timetable for the implementation of the General Agreement.
In the Secretary-General's September report he had projected costs for an expanded UNMOT at $14.8 million for an initial six months. He informs the Council that the estimate has been revised to include the support to the joint security unit, at a reduced cost of $13.7 million.
The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1997/887) which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its relevant resolutions and the statements of its President,
"Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 4 September 1997 (S/1997/686 and Add.1) and of 5 November 1997 (S/1997/859),
"Having considered also the letter of 17 October 1997 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (S/1997/808),
"Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Tajikistan and to the inviolability of its borders,
"Welcoming the progress made by the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan (S/1997/510) and the effective maintenance of the ceasefire between the Government of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO),
"Expressing concern that the security situation in Tajikistan remains volatile with, in particular, a high level of violence in the central part of the country, although large parts of the country are relatively calm,
"Welcoming the decision of the Commonwealth of Independent States to authorize its Collective Peacekeeping Forces (the CIS Peacekeeping Forces) to assist in providing security for United Nations personnel at the request of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) and with the agreement of the parties,
"Taking note of the requests of the parties, contained in the General Agreement and in the letter of 27 June 1997 from the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and UTO leader to the Secretary-General (S/1997/508), for the further assistance of the United Nations in implementing the General
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Agreement, and recognizing that the implementation of this Agreement will require the consistent good faith and constant effort of the parties, as well as the sustained and vigorous support of the United Nations and the international community,
"1. Welcomes the reports of the Secretary-General of 4 September 1997 and of 5 November 1997;
"2. Welcomes also the serious efforts made by the Government of Tajikistan and the UTO to carry out their commitments under the General Agreement and the progress achieved in the activities of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR), the exchange of prisoners of war and detainees, the registration of UTO fighters inside Tajikistan and the repatriation of refugees from Afghanistan;
"3. Notes with appreciation the agreement of the parties to form a joint security unit with the task of providing security, including armed escorts, for UNMOT personnel and transports mainly in the central part of the country and calls upon them to establish it without delay;
"4. Authorizes the Secretary-General to expand the size of UNMOT in accordance with his recommendations;
"5. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMOT until 15 May 1998;
"6. Decides that the mandate of UNMOT shall be as follows:
"To use its best efforts to promote peace and national reconciliation and to assist in the implementation of the General Agreement and, to this end, to
"(a) Provide good offices and expert advice as stipulated in the General Agreement;
"(b) Cooperate with the CNR and its subcommissions, and with the Central Commission on Elections and the Holding of Referendum;
"(c) Participate in the work of the Contact Group of guarantor States and organizations and to serve as its coordinator;
"(d) Investigate reports of ceasefire violations and report on them to the United Nations and the CNR;
"(e) Monitor the assembly of UTO fighters and their reintegration, disarmament and demobilization;
"(f) Assist in the reintegration into governmental power structures or demobilization of ex-combatants;
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"(g) Coordinate United Nations assistance to Tajikistan during the transition period;
"(h) Maintain close contacts with the parties, as well as cooperative liaison with the CIS Peacekeeping Forces, the Russian border forces and the Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Tajikistan;
"7. Calls upon the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the CIS Peacekeeping Forces, and other international personnel;
"8. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to convene in Vienna on 24 and 25 November 1997 a Donor Conference to obtain international support dedicated to the fulfilment of the General Agreement, and encourages Member States and others concerned to respond promptly and generously to ensure that this opportunity is not lost to contribute to the success of the peace process;
"9. Further encourages Member States and others concerned to continue assistance to alleviate the urgent humanitarian needs in Tajikistan and to offer support to Tajikistan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of its economy;
"10. Welcomes the continued contribution made by the CIS Peacekeeping Forces in assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement in coordination with all concerned;
"11. Commends the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and of the personnel of UNMOT and encourages them to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement;
"12. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of all significant developments, in particular, regarding the security situation and also requests him to report within three months of the adoption of this resolution on its implementation;
"13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said the Council today would adopt an important decision aimed at supporting the peace process in Tajikistan. International support would make the peace process irreversible and expanding the UNMOT mandate would mark the beginning of the practical implementation of the General Agreement. Already, at a practical level, the implementation of the General Agreement was under way. The efforts of the parties to create wider support in Tajikistan for the peace agreement were already yielding fruit.
Armed units that had not proclaimed their allegiance would soon be considered illegal, he said. The registration of United Tajik Opposition fighters was moving forward. The question of repatriation of fighters in Afghanistan was being considered, and refugees in northern Afghanistan were being repatriated. With the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Uzbekistan, the refugees in Uzbekistan would be returned to their homes by next year. Tajikistan was witnessing the consolidation of its society and a new political reality was emerging, leaving less space for the opponents of the peace process.
The first step should be followed by a longer process of State-building and the inclusion of the country into the mutually dependent world, he said. The people of Tajikistan would be grateful if the international community could provide it with the aid it so sorely needed. He noted the importance of the forthcoming donors conference for the reconstruction of his country. International support would stabilize the Tajik economy and assist in stabilizing the Central Asian region. International support regarding the conflict on the Tajik and Afghan border had been of great importance.
His Government was aware of its responsibility to ensure the safety of United Nations personnel. He hoped that the establishment of the joint security unit would be effective in improving the security situation. He also hoped that all joint efforts would be successful and that the international personnel would be able to effectively and safely fulfil their responsibilities
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said today's resolution reflected the Council's support for the peace process that was gaining speed in Tajikistan. The signing of the General Agreement opened prospects for overcoming of the military and political conflict.
Serious attention must be given to providing security for UNMOT personnel, he said. To that end, the formation of the joint security unit was of great importance. The collective peacekeeping force of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was also prepared to provide assistance in the implementation of the General Agreement, particularity in the military area.
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His Government was considering the possibility of assisting specific programmes to ease the effects of the war and support economic reconstruction. The establishment of stability and peace in Tajikistan was important for the region and beyond. The Russian Federation, along with other international actors, would cooperate with all aspects of the General Agreement in supporting the development of democracy in Tajikistan.
BILL RICHARDSON (United States) said he was pleased to join in adopting the draft resolution before the Council. He supported the expansion of UNMOT so that the parties could demobilize rapidly and turn their efforts towards rebuilding Tajikistan. The Council could now look forward to the day when the United Nations peacekeepers could depart and all United Nations involvement in Tajikistan could be reoriented towards reconstruction and development.
The road ahead would be difficult, he said. That was especially true because of the proliferation of armed groups, beyond the control of the parties, that threatened the security and tranquillity of Tajikistan. Expressing concern for the security of the unarmed UNMOT observers, he said the United States appreciated the agreement by the parties to establish a joint unit to protect UNMOT personnel. That was a bold response to a troublesome problem and would serve as a model for future cooperation between the parties.
He noted that the transit of Tajik refugees through Uzbekistan had begun. He thanked the President and Government of Uzbekistan for their assistance in that critical humanitarian effort. He also endorsed the Secretary-General's proposal to hold a donor conference. The United States intended to contribute to that effort and urged all States to make generous donations. He also supported the Department of Humanitarian Affairs' appeal for emergency humanitarian assistance.
Finally, he asked all States to join in supporting the deminig effort in Tajikistan, so that future generations would not continue to suffer death and maiming from devices left behind from the war. Although Tajikistan was not yet out of the woods, "we can take strength from the progress they have made in the last year as we challenge other parties in other conflicts to take risks for peace" he said.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said that, given the positive developments in Tajikistan, the international community should strengthen its assistance to the parties. His Government fully supported the draft resolution, which extended UNMOT's mandate and increased its strength. However, he remained concerned about the security situation on the ground due to the various violent actions of armed groups.
Improving the security situation was a prerequisite for the further efficient activities, not only of UNMOT, but also of the CIS force and other international organizations in the region, he said. The agreement to
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establish the joint security unit was welcomed and the unit should be formed without delay. His Government had made substantial contributions to the welfare of the people of Tajikistan in the form of humanitarian, refugee and technical assistance, he continued. That support would continue, including the possible dispatch of civilian personnel to strengthen UNMOT.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said he supported an expanded mandate for UNMOT, as well as an increase in the size of the Mission. He welcomed the integrated approach taken by the Secretary-General in recommending enlarged responsibilities for the United Nations in Tajikistan.
Implementing peace agreements was rarely a smooth process, he continued. It required considerable good faith and constant efforts by the parties. In Tajikistan, progress had been achieved in a number of areas. He welcomed that both the Tajik Government and the United Tajik Opposition appeared determined to pursue that process in a cooperative spirit. The level of violence, however, in particular in the central part of the country, was still a concern. In order for UNMOT to carry out its mandate, its safety and unhindered ability to perform its task must be guaranteed. The safety of the international personnel would continue to require the Council's particular attention.
STEPHEN GOMERSALL (United Kingdom) said he was encouraged by the progress in the implementation of the General Agreement. He considered the exchange of prisoners of war and the process for the return of refugees to be particularly important. The draft resolution underlined the international community's commitment to help the people of Tajikistan towards the rehabilitation of their country, although the principal responsibility for that lay with the Tajiks themselves.
He accepted the Secretary-General's recommendation for an expansion of UNMOT and would vote in favour of the draft resolution, but he remained concerned about the security situation in Tajikistan. The formation of the joint security unit was a welcome and necessary step. The Council, however, needed to follow closely developments that might affect the security and safety of UNMOT personnel and their ability to carry out their mandate effectively.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said his country was aware that the security situation remained precarious. He welcomed the actions of the Secretary- General to ensure the security of UNMOT and other international personnel. The United Nations must now assist Tajikistan in securing peace, as a lack of support could hamper the implementation of the General Agreement. He supported the expansion of UNMOT to that end.
PARK SOO GIL (Republic of Korea) said a climate of security was essential to monitoring peace in Tajikistan. In that connection, he welcomed the decision of the Tajik parties to form a joint security unit to provide the
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necessary security to UNMOT. He hoped that arrangement, together with the assurance for protection to be provided by CIS peacekeepers, would enable the strengthening and expansion of UNMOT's mandate.
He said the commitment of the Tajik parties to peace and national reconciliation deserved the financial support of the international community. In that regard, he welcomed the initiative of the Secretary-General to convene an international donor conference at Vienna later this month.
His Government attached great importance to the success of the inter-Tajik peace process, he said. Peace in Tajikistan was vital for peace and stability of the entire Central Asian region, where nearly 300,000 ethnic Koreans lived. His Government was encouraging its business community to actively participate in the reconstruction of the Tajik economy. It was also ready to contribute military observers to the expanded UNMOT. He supported the extension of UNMOT's mandate and its expansion.
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal) said it was important to note that the Commission on National Reconciliation had been convened on Tajik soil and had begun its work in earnest. He encouraged the parties to continue efforts to fulfil the General Agreement. The international community and the United Nations had worked to help the parties reach the current stage and would continue to support the peace process.
He remained concerned that the security situation in Tajikistan was not yet under control, he said. It was the responsibility of the parties to ensure that unarmed United Nations personnel were not endangered. He welcomed the agreement by the parties to form the joint security unit and the decision of the CIS to provide an important back-up for the protection of UNMOT personnel. He was pleased to join the consensus in adopting the draft before the Council.
JUAN LARRAIN (Chile) said his Government remained concerned about the continuing acts of violence that endangered the security of UNMOT. The establishment of the joint security unit was a positive step and he hoped it would be established without delay. He supported strengthening the role of UNMOT and the extension of its mandate. The responsibility for the success of the peace process must be borne by the parties. Those parties must continue to cooperate with the efforts of the United Nations.
MELVIN SAENZ-BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said his Government supported peacemaking and reconciliation in Tajikistan. That occasion demonstrated the usefulness and value of dialogue and diplomacy. Manifest progress had been achieved by the Tajik parties in implementing the General Agreement and in maintaining the ceasefire. The activities of the United Nations and other international organizations had been vital.
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Continued difficulties needed future address, he continued. He supported the expansion of the UNMOT mandate and its extension. Regarding Tajik refugees in Afghanistan, he said the progress in repatriating those refugees was a welcome sign of the cooperation between the parties. However, future action and international support would be needed to finalize that process. He called upon all Member States to contribute during the international donor conference and thus support the development of peace. ZBIGNIEW WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said that, after the signing of the General Agreement, there was hope and optimism in Tajikistan's future. He shared the Secretary-General's encouragement that the returning refugees had been received without hostility. He called on the parties to refrain from violence, which continued to occur in the central part of the country. He welcomed the formation of the joint security unit. He favoured the expansion of UNMOT and the extension of its mandate. NJUGUNA MAHUGU (Kenya) said the latest report of the Secretary-General was encouraging. Solid steps had been taken towards rehabilitation and the donor conference should generate resources to assist the peace process. He stressed the importance of the Commission on National Reconciliation. The security situation, however, was still unsettled and the joint security unit would help to assure the safety of international personnel. The UNMOT's critical role in the implementation of the General Agreement was commendable. He supported the Secretary-General's proposal for the expansion of UNMOT and the extension of its mandate. NABIL A. ELARABY (Egypt) said he welcomed the progress made in the activities of the Commission on National Reconciliation. He expressed concern, however, with the deterioration of the security situation. He called on both Tajik parties to cooperate to ensure the security of the international personnel and to guarantee their freedom of movement. In that context, he welcomed the establishment of the joint security unit. He would vote in favour of the draft resolution. ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said all members of the international community must commit themselves to the peace process in Tajikistan. While respecting the territorial integrity of its border, the viability of the Tajik borders must become a fact. He hoped that all neighbours of Tajikistan would work with the international community to ensure that peace was the only item on the agenda of that country. He joined in supporting the draft resolution, which would expand and extend the UNMOT mandate. The Government of Tajikistan, the United Tajik Opposition and other parties must provide security for United Nations personnel in carrying out their important role. The Council President, QIN HUASUN (China), speaking on behalf of his country, said his delegation supported the expansion of the UNMOT mandate and would vote in favour of the draft. He hoped that the parties could implement the General Agreement in earnest. The international community should provide the urgently needed assistance to support the rehabilitation of Tajikistan.
The draft was adopted unanimously as Security Council resolution 1138 (1997).
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