SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIA AND FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH UN MISSION OF OBSERVERS IN PREVLAKA

25 April 1997
SC/6363

SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIA AND FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH UN MISSION OF OBSERVERS IN PREVLAKA

Security Council                                            SC/6363

3772nd Meeting (PM)                                         25 April 1997

     SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON CROATIA AND FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA

          TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH UN MISSION OF OBSERVERS IN PREVLAKA

              In Presidential Statement, Council Calls on Parties

To Adopt Practical Options to Improve Peace and Security in Prevlaka Peninsula

The Security Council this afternoon, expressing concern about recent developments in the Prevlaka peninsula, called upon Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to refrain from provocative actions of all kinds, to cease violations of the demilitarized zone and to cooperate fully with the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP).

In a statement read out by President Antonio Monteiro (Portugal), the Council reiterated its call upon both parties to adopt the practical options proposed by the military observers to improve peace and security in the area, particularly by ending long-standing violations of the demilitarization regime, ceasing interference with the freedom of observers' movement and the implementation of their mandate, and by removing land-mines in areas patrolled by UNMOP.

In addition, with its expression of disappointment at the general lack of improvement in the situation, the Council called upon the two parties to resolve the disputed issue of Prevlaka through bilateral negotiations pursuant to the Agreement on Normalization of Relations, signed by them in Belgrade on 23 August 1996.

The meeting, which began at 12:42 p.m., was adjourned at 12:46 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1997/23, reads as follows:

"The Security Council has considered the report of the Secretary-General of 14 April 1997 (S/1997/311) concerning the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka and expresses its disappointment at the general lack of improvement in the situation in Prevlaka.

"The Security Council is concerned by the assessment of the Secretary-General that, while the situation generally has been stable, several developments have led to an increase in tension in the area.  The Council is particularly concerned by the descriptions in the report of continuing violations of the demilitarization regime, including movements of heavy weapons and of special police of the Republic of Croatia, and the entry by a navy missile boat of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the demilitarized zone, in disregard of the concerns and requests previously expressed by the Council.

"The Security Council calls upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions of all kinds, to cease violations of the demilitarized zone and to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers.

"The Security Council also notes the observations in the report of the Secretary-General about the lack of any progress towards adopting the practical options proposed to the parties by the United Nations military observers in May 1996, as referred to in the report of the Secretary-General of 31 December 1996 (S/1996/1075), to improve the safety and security of the area.  The Council reiterates its call upon both parties to adopt these practical options with a view to their early implementation, to remove land-mines from areas patrolled by the military observers, and to stop their interference with the freedom of movement of the military observers and with the implementation of the mandate of the observers.

"The Security Council calls upon the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to resolve the disputed issue of Prevlaka through bilateral negotiations pursuant to the Agreement on Normalization of Relations, signed by them in Belgrade on 23 August 1996, and in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and good neighbourly relations.

"The Security Council emphasizes its confidence in and support for the work of the United Nations military observers.  It expresses its appreciation to the military observers and to the Member States who have provided personnel and other forms of support.

"The Security Council will remain seized of the matter."

Report of Secretary-General

In his report of 14 April on UNMOP (document S/1997/311), the Secretary-General informed the Council, pursuant to resolution 1093 (1997), that no progress has been made by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia towards adopting the practical options proposed by the Mission in May 1996 to reduce tension and improve safety and security in the area.  Specifically, long-standing violations of the demilitarization regime persisted, and both parties continued to restrict the freedom of movement of UNMOP in the northern part of the demilitarized zone.  Access was also randomly denied elsewhere and constantly denied in the case of several Croatian positions.  The UNMOP is charged with monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula and of neighbouring areas in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In discussions with the relevant authorities in Zagreb, Belgrade and Podgorica, the Mission's Chief Military Observer has conveyed the Council's concerns as expressed in resolution 1093 (1997) and offered specific suggestion to the parties, concerning, in particular, the Council's call to adopt the proposed practical options and to cease from all violations and from military and other activities that might increase tensions.  The Chief Military Observer found no willingness among the parties to take unilateral steps to improve respect for the demilitarization regime in Prevlaka and its neighbouring areas.  Although neither party had refused to consider removing minefields -- still a hazard to military observers -- or to lift restrictions on movement of observers, both continued to insist that such steps could only be undertaken in the context of a reciprocal arrangement.  The report states that the experience of UNMOP has shown that the parties' requirement of guaranteed reciprocity makes meaningful progress on the issue extremely difficult, if not impossible.

The report goes on to note that the parties have raised concerns related to the work of UNMOP, including questions of reporting balance in Mission assessments, as well as a claim that UNMOP had sought to reduce the dimensions of part of the demilitarized zone.  In addition, the parties have indicated that their continuing bilateral negotiations under the Agreement on Normalization of Relations, signed at Belgrade by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 23 August 1996, have not yet addressed the Prevlaka issues directly and no progress has been made towards settlement of the dispute.  The Mission would continue to carry out its mandate, within existing constraints, as well as continue its efforts to enhance security and safety in its area of responsibility, the Secretary-General concludes.

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For information media. Not an official record.