COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF MISSION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA UNTIL 21 JUNE 1999; AUTHORIZES STATES ACTING THROUGH NATO, TO CONTINUE SFOR FOR 12 MONTHS
COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF MISSION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA UNTIL 21 JUNE 1999; AUTHORIZES STATES ACTING THROUGH NATO, TO CONTINUE SFOR FOR 12 MONTHS
COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF MISSION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA UNTIL 21 JUNE 1999; AUTHORIZES STATES ACTING THROUGH NATO, TO CONTINUE SFOR FOR 12 MONTHS19980615 Police Task Force To Continue, By Resolution 1174 (1998), Adopted Unanimously
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) until 21 June 1999. It also authorized Member States, acting through or in cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to continue for a further 12 months the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR).
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1174 (1998), the Council decided that the civilian police component of UNMIBH -- the International Police Task Force (IPTF) -- shall continue its tasks pertaining to the inter- entity boundary line and related matters, as set out in the General Framework Agreement on Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed by the parties in 1995 in Dayton, Ohio.
Reiterating that the success of the IPTF rests on the quality, experience and professional skills of its personnel, the Council urged Member States, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure the provision of such qualified personnel. Member States were also urged to provide training, equipment and related assistance for local police forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Security Council also reiterated its call on all concerned to ensure the closest possible coordination between SFOR, UNMIBH, the Office of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the relevant civilian bodies to ensure the successful implementation of the Framework Agreement and of the priority objectives of the civilian consolidation plan, as well as the security of the IPTF.
The Council also requested that the Secretary-General report every three months on the implementation of UNMIBH's mandate and its progress in assisting the restructuring of law enforcement agencies. The Secretary-General was also asked to continue to submit reports from the High Representative on the implementation of the Framework Peace Agreement and in particular on compliance by the parties with their commitments under that Agreement.
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In extending the authorization for SFOR, the Council also expressed its intention to review the situation with a view to extending that authorization further as necessary in the light of developments in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Determining that the situation in the region continued to constitute a threat to international peace and security, the Council authorized the Member States concerned with SFOR to effect the implementation of, and to ensure compliance with, Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement which spells out the military aspects of the peace settlement. The Council stressed that the parties should continue to be held equally responsible for compliance with the Annex, and be subject to enforcement action by SFOR to ensure implementation of that Annex as well as protection of SFOR. The Council took note that the parties to the Agreement had consented to such measures on the part of SFOR.
The Council also authorized those Member States involved to take all necessary measures, at the request of SFOR, either in defence of the Force or to assist it in carrying out its mission; and to ensure compliance with the rules and procedures established by SFOR, governing command and control of airspace over Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also requested the Member States involved to continue to report to the Council at least at monthly intervals.
The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina were requested to cooperate with SFOR to ensure the effective management of the airports. The Council demanded that the parties respect the security and freedom of movement of SFOR and other international personnel.
Further by the resolution, the Council reiterated that the primary responsibility for the success of the peace process lay with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council also underlined the importance of cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. That included the surrender for trial of all persons indicted by the Tribunal and provision of information to assist in Tribunal investigations.
Statements were made by the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union), Croatia, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Malaysia, Albania, Brazil, Russian Federation, Japan, Sweden, Bahrain, Kenya, Costa Rica, Gambia, Gabon, United States, Slovenia, China and Portugal.
The meeting, which was called to order at 12:01 p.m., was suspended at 1:05 p.m. It resumed at 3:33 p.m. and adjourned at 4:32 p.m.
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General summarizing the activities of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document S/1998/491) since his last report of 12 March 1997. In it, he recommends that the mandate of UNMIBH be extended for an additional period terminating on 21 June 1999.
The Secretary-General states such an extension would be a demonstration by the international community of its long-term commitment to the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Based on the security provided by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR), and with the political and financial backing of the Member States, UNMIBH can make a decisive contribution to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina by helping to establish a multi-ethnic and democratic police and a judicial system that provides justice to all citizens.
The Secretary-General states that he has been informed by NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana that the NATO military authorities have developed an operational plan for the continuation of a NATO-led multinational force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that this plan was endorsed by NATO Foreign Ministers on 28 May. The plan builds on the success of SFOR, has the same unity of command, the same robust rules of engagement, and similar composition and size. It would continue to provide broad support for the implementation of the civil aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. NATO preparedness for the continuation of a NATO-led multinational force in Bosnia and Herzegovina is contingent on the necessary mandate from the Security Council. The Secretary-General expresses the belief that the presence of a credible military force is a pre-condition for the effective implementation of the mandate of UNMIBH and for further progress in the peace process in general.
The last three months have seen an increase in violent incidents aimed at returning refugees and displaced persons, in particular those belonging to minority groups, the Secretary-General notes. At the same time, resistance towards integrating minority officers into the police force has continued, especially in the Croat-controlled areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Republika Srpska. The UNMIBH, and in particular the International Police Task Force (IPTF), will do everything in its power to further advance the restructuring of the local police forces in order to help create confidence for returning minorities.
In addition, UNMIBH is now prepared to move forward with a programme to monitor and assess the court system, the report states. This programme will include local professional expertise, both as a contribution to the monitoring activities and as a starting point for a subsequent reform programme.
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The report states that, in addition to its ongoing activities of monitoring, advising and training the local police, UNMIBH has carried out a number of initiatives. The three most important of those have been to commence the restructuring of the police service in the two still outstanding cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Republika Srpska; to introduce a common license plate in order to enhance freedom of movement within and between the Federation and the Republika Srpska; and to undertake preparation for a specialized training programme for the local police, as well as for a monitoring and assessment programme of the judicial system of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
UNMIBH's human rights office has taken up over 900 cases of alleged human rights violation as of 31 May, the report states. Many such cases relate to direct abuses by the police, while others involve local police negligence in responding to crimes against minorities. Still, other cases pertain to property disputes involving abuses by housing authorities against minorities.
The report also provides an overview of the activities of the United Nations system in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Secretary-General's report of 12 March 1997. It also includes the recommendations requested in resolution 1168 (1998) of 21 May. That resolution authorized the deployment of an additional 30 IPTF monitors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to carry out new intensive training programmes for the local police in a number of specialized fields.
The Council had before it a draft resolution (document S/1998/502), sponsored by France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States, the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions concerning the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, including resolutions 1031 (1995) of 15 December 1995, 1035 (1995) of 21 December 1995, 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996, 1144 (1997) of 19 December 1997 and 1168 (1998) of 21 May 1998,
"Reaffirming its commitment to the political settlement of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States there within their internationally recognized borders,
"Underlining its commitment to supporting implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Annexes thereto (collectively the Peace Agreement, S/1995/999, annex),
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"Emphasizing its appreciation to the High Representative, the Commander and personnel of the multinational stabilization force (SFOR), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the personnel of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), including the Commissioner and personnel of the International Police Task Force (IPTF), and the personnel of other international organizations and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina for their contributions to the implementation of the Peace Agreement,
"Underlining once again the important role for the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to play in the successful development of the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
"Stressing that a comprehensive and coordinated return of refugees and displaced persons throughout the region is crucial to lasting peace,
"Taking note of the declaration of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Luxembourg on 9 June 1998 (S/1998/498, annex) and the conclusions of its previous meetings,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 June 1998 (S/1998/491),
"Noting the report of the High Representative of 9 April 1998 (S/1998/314),
"Determining that the situation in the region continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
"Determined to promote the peaceful resolution of the conflicts in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Reaffirms once again its support for the Peace Agreement, as well as for the Dayton Agreement on implementing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina of 10 November 1995 (S/1995/1021, annex), calls upon the parties to comply strictly with their obligations under those Agreements, and expresses its intention to keep the implementation of the Peace Agreement, and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under review;
"2. Reiterates that the primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the peace process lies with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves and that the continued willingness of the international community and major donors to assume the political, military and economic burden of implementation and reconstruction efforts will be determined by the compliance and active participation by all the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in
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implementing the Peace Agreement and rebuilding a civil society, in particular in full cooperation with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in strengthening joint institutions and in facilitating returns of refugees and displaced persons;
"3. Reminds the parties once again that, in accordance with the Peace Agreement, they have committed themselves to cooperate fully with all entities involved in the implementation of this peace settlement, as described in the Peace Agreement, or which are otherwise authorized by the Security Council, including the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as it carries out its responsibilities for dispensing justice impartially, and underlines that full cooperation by States and entities with the International Tribunal includes, inter alia, the surrender for trial of all persons indicted by the Tribunal and provision of information to assist in Tribunal investigations;
"4. Emphasizes its full support for the continued role of the High Representative in monitoring the implementation of the Peace Agreement and giving guidance to and coordinating the activities of the civilian organizations and agencies involved in assisting the parties to implement the Peace Agreement, and reaffirms that the High Representative is the final authority in theatre regarding the interpretation of Annex 10 on civilian implementation of the Peace Agreement and that in case of dispute he may give his interpretation and make recommendations, and make binding decisions as he judges necessary on issues as elaborated by the Peace Implementation Council in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997;
"5. Expresses its support for the declaration of the Luxembourg Peace Implementation Council Steering Board;
"6. Recognizes that the parties have authorized the multinational force referred to in paragraph 10 below to take such actions as required, including the use of necessary force, to ensure compliance with Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement;
"7. Reaffirms its intention to keep the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina under close review, taking into account the reports submitted pursuant to paragraphs 18 and 25 below, and any recommendations those reports might include, and its readiness to consider the imposition of measures if any party fails significantly to meet its obligations under the Peace Agreement;
"8. Pays tribute to those Member States who participated in the multi- national stabilization force established in accordance with its resolution 1088 (1996) and welcomes their willingness to assist the parties to the Peace Agreement by continuing to deploy a multinational stabilization force;
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"9. Notes the support of the parties to the Peace Agreement for the continuation of SFOR set out in the declaration of the Luxembourg Peace Implementation Council Steering Board;
"10. Authorizes the Member States acting through or in cooperation with the organization referred to in Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement to continue for a further planned period of 12 months the multinational stabilization force (SFOR) as established in accordance with its resolution 1088 (1996) under unified command and control in order to fulfil the role specified in Annex 1-A and Annex 2 of the Peace Agreement and expresses its intention to review the situation with a view to extending this authorization further as necessary in the light of developments in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
"11. Authorizes the Member States acting under paragraph 10 above to take all necessary measures to effect the implementation of and to ensure compliance with Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement, stresses that the parties shall continue to be held equally responsible for compliance with that Annex and shall be equally subject to such enforcement action by SFOR as may be necessary to ensure implementation of that Annex and the protection of SFOR, and takes note that the parties have consented to SFOR's taking such measures;
"12. Authorizes Member States to take all necessary measures, at the request of SFOR, either in defence of SFOR or to assist the force in carrying out its mission, and recognizes the right of the force to take all necessary measures to defend itself from attack or threat of attack;
"13. Authorizes the Member States acting under paragraph 10 above, in accordance with Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement, to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the rules and procedures established by the Commander of SFOR, governing command and control of airspace over Bosnia and Herzegovina with respect to all civilian and military air traffic;
"14. Requests the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cooperate with the Commander of SFOR to ensure the effective management of the airports of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the light of the responsibilities conferred on SFOR by Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement with regard to the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina;
"15. Demands that the parties respect the security and freedom of movement of SFOR and other international personnel;
"16. Invites all States, in particular those in the region, to continue to provide appropriate support and facilities, including transit facilities, for the Member States acting under paragraph 10 above;
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"17. Recalls all the agreements concerning the status of forces as referred to in Appendix B to Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement, and reminds the parties of their obligation to continue to comply therewith;
"18. Requests the Member States acting through or in cooperation with the organization referred to in Annex 1-A of the Peace Agreement to continue to report to the Council, through the appropriate channels and at least at monthly intervals; * * *
"Reaffirming the legal basis in the Charter of the United Nations on which the IPTF was given its mandate in resolution 1035 (1995),
"19. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMIBH, which includes the IPTF, for an additional period terminating on 21 June 1999, and also decides that the IPTF shall continue to be entrusted with the tasks set out in Annex 11 of the Peace Agreement, including the tasks referred to in the Conclusions of the London, Bonn and Luxembourg Conferences and agreed by the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
"20. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed on the work of the IPTF and its progress in assisting the restructuring of law enforcement agencies, and to report every three months on the implementation of the mandate of UNMIBH as a whole;
"21. Reiterates that the successful implementation of the tasks of the IPTF rests on the quality, experience and professional skills of its personnel, and once again urges Member States, with the support of the Secretary-General, to ensure the provision of such qualified personnel;
"22. Reaffirms the responsibility of the parties to cooperate fully with, and instruct their respective responsible officials and authorities to provide their full support to, the IPTF on all relevant matters;
"23. Reiterates its call upon all concerned to ensure the closest possible coordination between the High Representative, SFOR, UNMIBH and the relevant civilian organizations and agencies so as to ensure the successful implementation of the Peace Agreement and of the priority objectives of the civilian consolidation plan, as well as the security of IPTF personnel;
"24. Urges Member States, in response to demonstrable progress by the parties in restructuring their law enforcement institutions, to intensify their efforts to provide, on a voluntary-funded basis and in coordination with the IPTF, training, equipment and related assistance for local police forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
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"25. Also requests the Secretary-General to continue to submit to the Council reports from the High Representative, in accordance with Annex 10 of the Peace Agreement and the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in London on 4 and 5 December 1996 (S/1996/1012), on the implementation of the Peace Agreement and in particular on compliance by the parties with their commitments under that Agreement;
"26. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
MUHAMED SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the resources being committed -- military, civilian and economic -- to serve peace and rebuild Bosnia and Herzegovina were having a positive impact. The reaffirmation that indicted war criminal would be brought before the International Criminal Tribunal had given people confidence in justice and reconciliation. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina were overwhelmingly committed to peace and co-existence. Yet, there was still an ongoing organized, criminal effort to keep people from returning to their homes, to prevent the process of reconciliation from taking hold.
Some would argue that the recent war, the genocide and murders, the fragility of peace and the recent events in Kosovo meant that the region was doomed to uncertainty and upheaval, he said. Were people of the Balkans doomed to ethnic hatred and conflict as the citizens of Rio de Janeiro were condemned to a life of casual sex, as portrayed in such movies as "Blame it on Rio"? Without commenting on whose destiny was preferable, it was obvious that the citizens of Bosnia nor the people who lived in or visited Rio de Janeiro were predestined to a certain type of behaviour.
While the issue of Kosovo was not before the Council, the handling of that matter reflected that stereotype about the Balkans, he said. The ordinary citizen was not to blame for the wars in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina nor Kosovo. Blame should be placed on a leadership that preys on its neighbours and on its own people. The common thread was not the Balkan's history. When Srebrenica was overrun and thousands were massacred, the weapons of the mandated forces of the United Nations were also plundered. Recently, there was evidence that those forces at Srebrenica were being used in Kosovo against the Kosovo Albanians.
The United Nations was already scapegoated in many political quarters, he said. It had been blamed for the failures of collective will in Bosnia, and for failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda. The Bosnia people seek to treat the role of the United Nations honestly, and they thank the Organization for its efforts and assistance in promoting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Treat the Bosnian people fairly and do not be duped by the merchants of nationalism and ethnic cleansing.
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Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) spoke on behalf of the European Union and associated countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Iceland. The challenges faced by the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina included the problem of returning refugees and displaced persons to areas in which they were a minority. The European Union deplored the recent increase in violent incidents against those people and urged local police authorities, with the assistance of the IPTF, to pursue the restructuring of their forces and to provide for the integration of minority officers in order to help create confidence for returning refugees, in particular those belonging to minority groups.
He added that an increasing number of persons indicted on war crimes charges were arriving in the International Tribunal in The Hague -- either through voluntary surrender or by the actions of SFOR. That created an opportunity at last for the people of Bosnia to build peace and reconciliation on the firm foundation of justice. The goal of the European Union was to see a democratic, prosperous Bosnia taking its place as a modern nation in Europe. Such a future was within Bosnia's grasp, provided it continued to make good on progress on the Dayton accords, leaving violence and ethnic hatred behind them.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said his Government had taken several steps since January to strengthen its ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina. A presidential envoy was working closely with a Bosnian delegation regarding special economic, transit and other bilateral arrangements between the two countries. Croatia had recently signed an agreement for the construction of a highway linking Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Croatia had also signed bilateral agreements on the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The movement of persons and goods between Croatia and both entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina was now open and was encouraging economic and other links between the two countries, and through Croatia to the rest of Europe.
Croatia still remained the only State in the region which had received a significant number of displaced persons from a group formerly affiliated with the rebel occupying forces, he continued. A consequence of a one-sided approach to refugee returns has already been reflected in a loss of confidence in the Dayton Peace Agreement. The growing alienation being experienced by Bosnian Croats should not be taken lightly by the international community. Little support had been given to Bosnian-Herzegovene Croats who had sought to attain support in the return process. Despite recent positive developments, they continued to make up the vast majority of imprisoned indictees. That continued to be the case even though both Bosnian Croats and Muslims were overwhelmingly the victims of war crimes committed in the country.
Croatia supported the letter and intent of the resolution before the Council, he said. The continued presence and active support of the international
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community in Bosnia and Herzegovina was essential. Unconditional support should be given to the measures described in the Secretary-General's report to strengthen professionalism throughout all levels of the public sector. The peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina should use the benefit of an international presence for elaborating and fully implementing an efficient institutional system, in accordance with the basic principles of Dayton.
GIULIO TERZI DI SANT'AGATA (Italy) said Italy was one of the main contributors of emergency assistance and reconstruction aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Effective use of reconstruction funds might prove crucial to fostering and consolidating peace. Economic assistance must also encourage democratization. That approach did not mean penalizing or discriminating against one part or another; it meant encouraging the adoption of a positive attitude towards each and every aspect of the peace process, such as respect for human rights, the return of refugees, media liberalization and the fight against corruption.
He added that the enhancement of political, civil and media freedom, and the establishment of pluralism in opinions and political parties were still priority objectives. The ultimate goal should be political stabilization through democratic elections, with a view to achieving the insertion of a democratic and prosperous Bosnia as a modern nation in Europe.
TONO EITEL (Germany) said an important achievement of the last months had been NATO's decision not to fix an end date to its engagement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was preferable for NATO to look at the actual situation on the ground and to be able to react flexibly, in the framework of an overall strategy of transition towards sustainable peace without outside assistance. Still, it was proper for the Council, following its practice, to authorize SFOR for a definite period of 12 months, with a view to further extending SFOR in light of the situation. The SFOR had further fine-tuned its abilities to the demands of the changed situation by creating specially trained and equipped multinational units for the field of public security.
He said the IPTF had made great achievements both in restructuring and training the local police and in maintaining freedom of movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, restructured local police forces would be ineffective if they were not accompanied by similar efforts towards judiciary reform. The Council would urgently have to find a pragmatic solution that enabled the IPTF to begin that task, setting aside budgetary disputes.
VOLKAN VURAL (Turkey) said SFOR had played a key role in creating a positive security environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That had allowed a number of steps to be taken towards consolidating the sovereign, democratic and multi-ethnic State. The UNMIBH had also been successful in carrying out its task. The IPTF had conducted excellent work in the field. Yet, several aspects of the Dayton Agreement, especially concerning humanitarian and
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civilian affairs, required firmer compliance by some of the parties. During the past three months, there had been an increase in violent incidents against returning refugees and displaced persons. Resistance had continued in the integration of minority officers into the police force. Other unresolved areas included problems relating to common institutions; disbanding parallel bodies; the return of minorities; and the full implementation of municipal elections.
The implementation of the Dayton Agreement included the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and the establishment of the common institutions, he said. Turkey attached importance to the early fulfilment of those prerequisites. The parties to the Agreement should also fulfil their obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal. Turkey called upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to establish full and unconditional diplomatic relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international community must be vigilant to the ramifications of the alarming developments in Kosovo on the overall peace and security in the region. It should not allow the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be derailed.
RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia) said that, while continuing commitment and active involvement of the international community was important and very much needed, the main responsibility to achieve peace and national reconciliation ultimately lay with the Bosnians themselves. The parties should work harder to build upon the achievements made so far. There was no other alternative but for them to remain fully committed to the Dayton Agreement. Malaysia called upon the leaders to work strenuously towards establishing an integrated, independent and peaceful Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognized borders. They must make serious efforts to resolve the outstanding problems, particularly the issue of the return of refugees and displaced persons.
It was also important to recognize the important work of the International Criminal Tribunal, he said. Its work did not only secure justice, but also aided reconciliation in the context of the broader implementation of the Dayton Agreement. The climate of hatred and mistrust could not be easily replaced by confidence and cooperation if the perpetrators of the horrendous crimes were not brought to justice. He expressed concern that major indicted war criminals remained at large; more action needed to be taken to bring them to justice.
AGIM NESHO (Albania) said the draft resolution before the Council was an important and needed step for further consolidating peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The SFOR and UNMIBH, including IPTF, would continue to provide a secure environment that would allow continuation of the work of reforming the judicial system and establishing a democratic police in the country. The goal of restoring peace and building a multi-ethnic society
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could not be done without the continuous and strong support of the international community. Yet, the final responsibility for achieving that goal remained in the hands of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The return of refugees and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal were essential for progress in the process of reconciliation and integration among all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. The international community must ensure the surrender of war criminals and the safe return of the approximately 1.8 million refugees to their homes and properties. In light of the deepening crisis in Kosovo and the situation in the Balkan area, the extension of the mandates of SFOR was necessary. The policy of conflict, ethnic cleansing, and the massive flow of ethnic Albanian refugees from Kosovo into Albania, proved that the Dayton process was an imposed victory of the international community against uncivilized nationalism and the policy of force. The international community must be more united and determined to stop the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
CELSO LUIZ NUNES AMORIN (Brazil) said he was discouraged by the comment made by the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The comparison made by that representative unfairly depicted the culture and society in Brazil. His country was a multicultural society with a history of peace, and it was ready to share its experiences in that area with other countries.
The Chairman then suspended the meeting of the Council.
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When the Council resumed its meeting at 3:33 p.m., Mr. SACIRBEY (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the representative of Brazil apparently had taken offence to his statement. The statement was meant to reflect the common injustice of stereotyping that faced both Rio de Janeiro and the Balkans. The film in question made a casual and offensive reference to Rio de Janeiro. Therefore, Rio de Janeiro, like the Balkan region, was a victim of stereotyping, with somewhat different consequences. The statement by the representative of Brazil had relegated the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina to secondary status because of the misinterpretation of a casual reference.
YURIY FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said his Government hoped that the draft resolution before the Council would make a contribution to the peace settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite advances achieved in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the rate of progress remained inadequate. The situation could not satisfy the international community which had made a large-scale commitment. The keys to the success of post-conflict resolution continued to be in the hands of the Bosnian parties themselves. The international community expected the Bosnians to promote concrete steps, including effectiveness of joint government entities. The current level of international support would not continue indefinitely, but such support -- including SFOR, the IPTF and UNMIBH -- continued to be vital in providing the continued impetus for a settlement.
He went on to say that the extension of the mandates would be implemented for a period of one year, at which time the Council would undertake a review of the implementation of the peace agreement and developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The success of SFOR and UNMIBH should be measured by strict compliance in practice with the mandates of the relevant Council resolutions. If adopted, the resolution would allow UNMIBH and the IPTF to continue their important work in restructuring and training of local police forces in establishing a valid judiciary. The Russian Federation would continue to make a constructive, practical contribution in order to make Bosnia and Herzegovina a unified, democratic and multi-ethnic State.
MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said that while there had been recent progress in the peace process, there remained a number of issues yet to be resolved. The main issues that must be addressed without delay included the promotion of the return of refugees and displaced persons, more effective functioning of the common institutions, fostering free and fair media, and greater cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal. The nation-wide elections, to be held in September under the supervision of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), would be a significant milestone towards the achievement of a peaceful future in Bosnia. Yet, free and fair elections could only be conducted if a safe and secure environment was ensured by the parties, in cooperation with the relevant international institutions. Japan would dispatch supervisors and observers to those elections, as it did for the previous two nation-wide elections.
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The continued presence of UNMIBH, including the IPTF, in Bosnia was indispensable, he said. Japan highly appreciated the role played by those two organizations in monitoring and restructuring the activities of the local police forces. The presence of SFOR remained an essential factor in the maintenance of stability in Bosnia. The SFOR was providing safety and security to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also to UNMIBH, the IPTF and other international personnel. Japan will vote in favour of the draft resolution before the Council.
HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden) said the SFOR military presence was absolutely crucial to providing the secure environment necessary for all civilian efforts. The work of IPTF to restructure local police and to build a democratic Bosnian public security capability would reduce the need for an international security presence. The two missions were complementary in a truly multidimensional peacekeeping effort. That cooperation would be particularly important during the forthcoming period, which would be marked by the return of refugees and displaced persons to so-called minority areas.
Another important aspect of peace-building was the programme for judicial reform, he added. Sweden would continue to support fully the peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sweden also welcomed the fact that Bosnia had started on a path leading towards closer integration into European structures. But the process was still very fragile and development in Bosnia would merit close attention. The democratic elections in September would be an occasion to lay the ground for taking the process further.
ANTONIO PATRIOTA (Brazil) said there had been encouraging signs regarding the internal evolution in Bosnia, particularly since a new Republika Srpska leadership had shown a more cooperative attitude. On the other hand, recent episodes of violence associated with minority returns were to be strongly deplored, while local instances of intransigence in certain cantons and municipalities and obstruction in the adoption of the common license plate were simply inadmissible.
He added that his country's own historical experience had made Brazil believe that tolerance among different ethnicities and religions was the strongest and most long-lasting cement for nation-building -- not weapons, not police activity. As democratic pluralism based on tolerance takes root in Bosnia, the emphasis currently placed on military and law and order issues should progressively shift to economic and social development, political emancipation, and cultural revival.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said UNMIBH had had a role in establishing an atmosphere of stability and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That role had increased, and the restructuring of the police force had been successful. That progress had been linked to progress in the implementation of the peace agreement. The IPTF had also made efforts, in cooperation with
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SFOR, to grant amnesty to individuals who handed over weapons, and so far 6,799 mines and tens of thousands of weapons had been collected.
His Government urged the officials concerned to take measures to avoid any further acts of violence against refugees and returnees, he said. There should also be close cooperation between UNMIBH and other international organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), particularly within the framework of the nationwide elections to be held in September. Bahrain urged all parties to closely implement the provisions of the Dayton Agreement pertaining to cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community.
Bahrain renewed its condemnation of all Serbian repressive practices, as well as the exaggerated use of military force, against other ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. His Government particularly condemned crimes committed against Muslims in that country. All Serbian war criminals must be prosecuted for crimes they have committed as an example to others. What took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina had taken place in other regions, in particular in Kosovo.
NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said the UNMIBH had contributed significantly to progress in the peace process. The Mission's activities had a very positive effect in creating a conducive atmosphere for the freedom of movement. The introduction of a common license plate helped to bring about a fundamental change towards increase freedom of movement. Yet, his Government was concerned that violent incidents directed at the returning refugees and displaced persons had been increasing in the past three months. All the parties should take advantage of the presence of the United Nations in order to consolidate peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kenya commended the efforts of the United Nations system and the World Bank in trying to bring about progress in the major sectors of the economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. The support of the international community remained necessary for that country to consolidate the progress achieved so far. Kenya supported the extension of the mandate of UNMIBH. Such a renewal would be a demonstration of the international community's long-term commitment to the peace process in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
MELVIN SAENZ BIOLLEY (Costa Rica) said building peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina required patience and perseverance. The difficult situation called for a genuine national and international effort. The parties must undertake a constructive attitude in accordance with the Dayton accords. His country was of the view that policing was of special importance, and should received special attention in efforts there. Emphasis should be placed on the need to promote integrated composition of the police force, so as to be representative of the different ethnic groups. The police force should also promote the protection of human rights for everyone in the country. In
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addition to police, the international community should demand the existence of a credible and effective judicial system in which all could have confidence.
BABOUCARR-BLAISE ISMAILA JAGNE (Gambia) said the aim of the draft resolution before the Council was to provide a legal framework to facilitate the long-term process of rebuilding a civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The safe return of all refugees and displaced persons comprised a key element of that process. Re-establishing a civil society also involved the restoration of law and order, which was a component of the mandate of UNMIBH. Recently, the emphasis of the Mission had shifted to training the local police, which required patience and persistence.
Despite the substantial progress achieved so far, incidents of arson, physical assault, murder and harassment had been reported, he said. The Secretary-General's report stated that there had been an increase in violent incidents directed against minority groups, in particular. The success of the programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina would depend upon the ability of the international community to secure compliance of the parties with their commitments under the Peace Agreement. The presence of a credible military force was a precondition for the effective implementation of the mandate of UNMIBH and for further progress in the peace process, in general.
CHARLES ESSONGHÉ (Gabon) said advances in Bosnia and Herzegovina showed the success of UNMIBH and SFOR efforts. Greater stability there showed that the Dayton accords had been implemented by international actors involved. However, several obstacles stood in the way of the work of UNMIBH in the country. A number of violent incidents had taken place against refugees and minority groups. All parties should continue to maintain the objectives of the peace plan. Only through sustained dialogue and cooperation would the parties achieve peace. Efforts there required continued commitment by the international community, and the draft resolution before the Council demonstrated that commitment.
A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said the SFOR and the UNMIBH had been critical to the implementation of the Dayton Agreement in the past two years. The SFOR and the IPTF continued to provide the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the security and confidence they needed to move forward with the difficult tasks which still lay ahead. Yet, the primary responsibility for implementation of the Peace Agreement rested with the parties themselves. Bosnia and Herzegovina must take the responsibility for its future and prepare to stand on its own. His Government called on all parties to the Dayton Agreement to redouble their efforts to implement the agreement and abandon patterns of procrastination, obstruction and minimal compliance. Those efforts should include full cooperation with the International Tribunal, the return of refugees and the strengthening of joint institutions.
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Since the war ended, over 470,000 refugees and displaced persons had returned home, he said. That number included 170,000 which had returned in 1997. The United States would continue to press for the accelerated return of the remaining refugees and displaced persons, particularly to areas where they were in the ethnic minority. There had been many other achievements in the past year, particularly the holding of municipal elections and the installation of democratically-elected local officials in all but one of the 136 municipalities. The nation-wide elections scheduled for September provided an opportunity for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to exercise their democratic right to vote in support of their country's future.
DANILO TüRK (Slovenia) said some essential conditions for achieving lasting peace still need to be met -- the return of refugees and displaced persons, reconciliation, comprehensive minority protection, democratization of society and institutions, and economic recovery. The United Nations would continue to have an important role in fulfilling all of those conditions. The return of refugees was the single most important task in 1998. There were still more than 1.4 million refugees and displaced persons. Only about 100,000 had returned so far, and most of them to areas where their national group was now a majority. Comprehensive refugee return, especially minority return, was crucial to lasting peace.
He added that political democratization was another important condition for irreversible peace and one closely linked to refugee return. The elections scheduled to take place in September would therefore have a special significance. National reconciliation was also a precondition for lasting peace in the area. In that regard, there had been improved cooperation by the Bosnian Serbs with the International Criminal Tribunal. But that cooperation was not yet sufficient. More needed to be done to bring the remaining indictees before the Tribunal. The process of reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be significantly constrained until all war criminals, including the leading ones, were brought to justice.
QIN HUASUN (China) said his Government was concerned about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had significant implications for the stability of the entire region. Since the signing of the Dayton Agreement, the situation in general had been developing in a positive direction. Yet, only the members of the various ethnic groups themselves could ensure the total reconciliation and lasting peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Only they could solve the problems that occurred in the implementation of the peace agreement, in particular in the return of refugees. In principle, China was in favour of the international community making active efforts to facilitate the parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina reaching a lasting peace settlement.
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China still believed that SFOR must not misuse force in implementing its mandate given by the Council, he said. The invocation of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter was not applicable to the provisions concerning UNMIBH and IPTF. His Government would support the draft resolution before the Council. Yet, in implementing the actions authorized by the Council resolutions, SFOR must accept, in earnest, the political guidance of the Council and report to it on time on the implementation of its tasks.
Council President, ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking in his national capacity, said his delegation supported the resolution before the Council, which put into practice the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report on the issue. Portugal believed that long-term commitment of the international community must be affirmed by supporting the UNMIBH/IPTF efforts in the area. Those efforts must be matched however by the people themselves in achieving peace and stability.
Action on Draft
The Council then adopted unanimously resolution 1174 (1998).
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