SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA COMPLY FULLY WITH NATO AND OSCE VERIFICATION MISSIONS IN KOSOVO

24 October 1998
SC/6588

SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA COMPLY FULLY WITH NATO AND OSCE VERIFICATION MISSIONS IN KOSOVO

24 October 1998

Press ReleaseSC/6588

SECURITY COUNCIL DEMANDS FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA COMPLY FULLY WITH NATO AND OSCE VERIFICATION MISSIONS IN KOSOVO

19981024 Resolution 1203 (1998), Adopted by 13-0-2 Vote, Calls On Kosovo Albanians to Condemn Terrorist Acts and Cooperate with OSCE

The Security Council this afternoon demanded that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cooperate fully with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) verification missions to be established in and over Kosovo, respectively.

It took that action through its adoption of resolution 1203 (1998), by a vote of 13 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation).

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also demanded that both the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanians comply fully and swiftly with Security Council resolution 1160 (1998), banning the sale or supply of arms and matériel to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo; and resolution 1199 (1998), calling for an immediate ceasefire in Kosovo and withdrawal of security forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from Kosovo.

Also, the Council endorsed and expressed support for the agreements reached with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to establish the OSCE mission to be stationed in Kosovo and the NATO operation to provide air surveillance, both of which will be in place to verify compliance by all concerned in Kosovo with the requirements of resolution 1199 (1998).

Stressing the urgent need for the parties to enter into negotiations towards a political solution to the issue of Kosovo, the Council this afternoon also demanded from both parties cooperation with international efforts to improve the humanitarian situation and that they respect the freedom of movement of the OSCE verification mission and other international personnel. The Council, insisting that the Kosovo Albanian leadership condemn all terrorist actions, also demanded that such actions cease immediately.

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Following the Council vote on the resolution, the representative of China said, while its request for deletion of elements authorizing the use of force or its threat had been accommodated during negotiations on the text, the resolution still contained some elements beyond the agreements reached by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and relevant parties, such as invoking Chapter VII of the Charter. Therefore, China had abstained from voting. While not opposing a focused technical resolution to encourage a peaceful end to the crisis, China did, however, opposed the use of a Council resolution to pressure the internal affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The representative of the United States said the threat of force was key to both achieving the OSCE and NATO agreements and in ensuring their full implementation. The NATO allies, in agreeing to the use of force, made it clear that they had the authority, the will, and the means to resolve the issue. "We retain that authority. We will not tolerate the continued violence that has resulted in nearly a quarter of a million refugees and displaced persons, caused thousands of deaths, and jeopardized the prospects for peace in the wider Balkans", he said.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking before the vote, said his country had played an active role in recent developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; events which had moved forward with full respect for the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While those positive shifts had been seen by diplomatic observers, the draft had not taken into account recent developments in Belgrade. Nor could it be agreed that the situation in Kosovo presented an international danger. The Russian Federation would not condone the use of force being reflected in a draft and would abstain from the vote.

Statements this afternoon were also made by the representatives of Poland, Ukraine, Bahrain, Portugal, Costa Rica, Sweden, Slovenia, Kenya, Gambia, Japan, Gabon, Brazil, United Kingdom and France.

The meeting, which began at 4:15 p.m., was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

Council Work Programme

When the Security Council meets this afternoon to consider the situation in Kosovo, it will have before it a report of the Secretary-General of 5 October which assesses conditions in Kosovo since his last report of 4 September.

The Secretary-General's report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1160 (1998) banning the sale or supply of arms or arms-related matériel to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; and resolution 1199 (1998), by which the Council -- acting under Chapter VII of the Charter -- demanded that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia withdraw all security forces and enable international monitoring of Kosovo; and that the parties take steps to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe. That resolution also called on the parties to enter immediately into negotiations on a political solution to the issue of Kosovo.

Also before the Council are two letters: one containing the text of the agreement on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air verification mission over Kosovo between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, signed 15 October; another with the text of the agreement providing for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to establish a verification mission in Kosovo, signed by the OSCE and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 16 October.

Report of Secretary-General

The Secretary-General, in his report (document S/1998/912), states that from early September to early October the international community witnessed appalling atrocities in Kosovo, reminiscent of the recent past elsewhere in the Balkans. Reiterating his utter condemnation of such wanton killing and destruction, he states that it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that the great majority of such acts had been committed by security forces in Kosovo acting under the authority of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Nonetheless, the Kosovar Albanian paramilitary units had engaged in armed actions, and there is good reason to believe that they too have committed atrocities.

While the Security Council has reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that authorities of that State have the right and duty to maintain public order and security and to respond to violent acts of provocation, the Secretary-General says this in no way justifies the systematic terror inflicted on civilians during these weeks. Equally, as called for by the Security Council, all terrorist action must cease.

Conditions must be created that would allow for the return of a significant number of the internally displaced to avoid the death of thousands in the coming winter, he states. That requires a radical change of policy and behaviour and

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the introduction of confidence-building measures -- such as the withdrawal of police units, a declaration of amnesty and a release of prisoners.

The Secretary-General recommends action on several fronts. The violence on all sides must be brought to a halt; full access must be granted to humanitarian personnel; and conditions need to be created that will enable refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes, confident that they will not face harassment or worse. It is imperative that the international presence be strengthened and made more effective. In particular, it would be helpful if the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission -- made up of military experts from the United States, the European Union and the Russian Federation -- were brought to its full strength and the presence of human rights observers were enhanced.

While his report details the increasingly difficult humanitarian situation, the Secretary-General states that he does not have the necessary means to make an independent assessment of compliance with Council resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998), because the United Nations has no direct political presence on the ground in Kosovo. The Council, therefore, may wish to make its own judgement in this respect on the basis of the present report.

The report relies on information provided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as outside sources such as the OSCE, the European Union, NATO and the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission.

In providing recommendations for action, the Secretary-General states that the international community must never lose sight of the ultimate need for a comprehensive political solution. Otherwise, only the symptoms of the problems will be treated, and not the causes.

On the ground, the Secretary-General reports, fighting in Kosovo continued unabated throughout September into early October, with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia security forces conducting offensives in various parts of Kosovo. In the week following the 23 September adoption of resolution 1199 (1998), which called for a ceasefire, the forces intensified their operations and launched other offensives. Those operations have reportedly resulted in the displacement of some 20,000 additional people. While military activity seemed to wind down in the last days of September, the Secretariat was, as of early October, still receiving information that the Government's armed presence remained significant and that the operations of the special police continue.

The Diplomatic Observer Mission team witnessed at least 14 bodies in the Kosovo town of Gornje Obrinje, some severely mutilated. Most of the victims were children as young as 18 months and women as old as 95. Further killings of Kosovo civilians were reported, including the alleged summary execution of some 12 to 23 males in the Golubovac area on 27 September. The Observer Mission observed pools of blood in the dirt, tools presumably used to stab victims and small-calibre shell casings.

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The desperate situation of the civilian population remains the most disturbing aspect of the hostilities, the report states. Civilians were increasingly becoming the main target, and fighting has resulted in mass displacement. There are concerns that the disproportionate use of force and actions of the security forces are designed to terrorize and subjugate the population, a collective punishment to teach them that the price of supporting the Kosovo Albanian paramilitary units is too high. The UNHCR estimates that more than 200,000 persons remain displaced in Kosovo, and some 80,000 are in neighbouring countries and other parts of Serbia.

For conditions to be created that would allow for the return of significant number of internally displaced persons, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must introduce confidence-building measures so that Kosovo Albanians will feel safe returning home. In addition to such efforts, the Secretary-General calls on the parties to resume negotiations without delay. Those negotiations should result in the restoration of confidence that is needed for a return and resettlement of all those who have fled their homes in fear.

Annexed to the Secretary-General's report is information on the situation in Kosovo from the OSCE, which covers the period since its last report on 20 August. The report states that, during September, the Yugoslav forces continued to pound villages to stamp out any traces of resistance.

The Council also had before it an earlier report of the Secretary- General on the situation in Kosovo, which covers the period from 5 August to 4 September (documents S/1998/834 and Add.1). (For background on that report, see Press Release SC/6577 of 23 September.)

NATO Verification Mission

The agreement between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, annexed to a 22 October letter from the United States to the President of the Council (document S/1998/991), provides for NATO air surveillance to verify compliance by all parties with the provisions of Security Council resolution 1199 (1998) demanding an end to hostilities and a ceasefire in Kosovo.

According to the text, NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia agreed to the establishment of an air surveillance system for Kosovo which NATO will implement. The NATO air verification system will be comprised of NATO non-combatant reconnaissance platforms, and low- and medium-altitude manned reconnaissance platforms.

The agreement provides for a number of procedures to create a cooperative and safe operating environment, such as a mutual safety zone encompassing Federal Republic of Yugoslavia airspace within a radius of 25 kilometres from the contiguous boundary of Kosovo. Within that zone, the fighter aircraft and

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Air Defence Forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will not conduct operations during the period of flight operations by NATO-manned non-combatant reconnaissance platforms.

The agreement setting out the terms of NATO operations states that for manned low- and medium-altitude reconnaissance platforms, NATO flight operations will consist of a defined period which includes a 30-minute safety margin before and after announced NATO flights, which may be conducted at all times within the confines of Kosovo. For U2 and unmanned reconnaissance platforms, flight operations may be conducted at all times and do not require the 30-minute safety margin. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia fighter aircraft may fly within Kosovo and the mutual safety zone at all times except when NATO-manned low- and medium-altitude non-combat reconnaissance platforms are operating as prescribed.

Other procedures set out in the agreement to ensure a cooperative and safe environment during the mission include provisions for coordination, protection, command and control, and for integration of NATO and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia requirements. In addition, the agreement stipulates that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will guarantee the safety and security of the NATO verification mission and all its members, and it will designate formal liaison officers to work with the NATO mission in Belgrade.

Finally, the agreement sets out the terms of implementation of the air surveillance system, including a validation period. The agreement states that if, during the validation period, flight conduct and safety concerns are identified, NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will agree to immediately establish changes to the provisions of the agreement to address the concerns of both.

OSCE Verification Mission

The OSCE mission -- contained in a 16 October letter from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (document S/1998/962) -- will consist of 2,000 unarmed personnel from OSCE member States deployed to verify compliance by all parties in Kosovo with resolution 1199 (1998) and report instances of progress and/or non-compliance to the OSCE, the Security Council and to authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The mission will establish a permanent presence in as many locations as possible and will maintain close liaison with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbian and other Kosovo authorities, political parties, organizations and accredited international organizations. It will also supervise elections in Kosovo to ensure their openness and fairness.

Federal Republic/Serbian military/police headquarters in Kosovo will supply the mission with weekly information regarding movements of forces.

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Mission personnel can also accompany police units within Kosovo, visit border control units and report on roadblocks

According to the agreement, the mission will assist the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international organizations to facilitate the return of displaced persons. The mission will verify cooperation and support provided by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to humanitarian and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

As the political settlement defining Kosovo's self-government is achieved and implementation begins, the mission director will assist in such areas as electoral supervision, establishment of Kosovo institutions and police force development. Relevant authorities will update him periodically on allegations of abuse by military or police personnel and the status of legal or disciplinary action.

The mission will be headquartered in Pristina and have a small liaison office in Belgrade. Its field presence throughout Kosovo will be determined by the mission director.

Draft Resolution

The text of a draft resolution before the Council (document S/1998/992), submitted by Bahrain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its resolutions 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998 and 1199 (1998) of 23 September 1998, and the importance of the peaceful resolution of the problem of Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,

"Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General pursuant to those resolutions, in particular his report of 5 October 1998 (S/1998/912),

"Welcoming the agreement signed in Belgrade on 16 October 1998 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) providing for the OSCE to establish a verification mission in Kosovo (S/1998/978), including the undertaking of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to comply with resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998),

"Welcoming also the agreement signed in Belgrade on 15 October 1998 by the Chief of General Staff of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) providing for the establishment of an air verification mission over Kosovo (S/1998/991, annex), complementing the OSCE Verification Mission,

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"Welcoming also the decision of the Permanent Council of the OSCE of 15 October 1998 (S/1998/959, annex),

"Welcoming the decision of the Secretary-General to send a mission to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to establish a first-hand capacity to assess developments on the ground in Kosovo,

"Reaffirming that, under the Charter of the United Nations, primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security is conferred on the Security Council,

"Recalling the objectives of resolution 1160 (1998), in which the Council expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo problem which would include an enhanced status for Kosovo, a substantially greater degree of autonomy, and meaningful self-administration,

"Condemning all acts of violence by any party, as well as terrorism in pursuit of political goals by any group or individual, and all external support for such activities in Kosovo, including the supply of arms and training for terrorist activities in Kosovo, and expressing concern at the reports of continuing violations of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 (1998),

"Deeply concerned at the recent closure by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of independent media outlets in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and emphasizing the need for these to be allowed freely to resume their operations,

"Deeply alarmed and concerned at the continuing grave humanitarian situation throughout Kosovo and the impending humanitarian catastrophe, and re-emphasizing the need to prevent this from happening,

"Stressing the importance of proper coordination of humanitarian initiatives undertaken by States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and international organizations in Kosovo,

"Emphasizing the need to ensure the safety and security of members of the Verification Mission in Kosovo and the Air Verification Mission over Kosovo,

"Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,

"Affirming that the unresolved situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, constitutes a continuing threat to peace and security in the region,

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

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"1. Endorses and supports the agreements signed in Belgrade on 16 October 1998 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the OSCE, and on 15 October 1998 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO, concerning the verification of compliance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and all others concerned in Kosovo with the requirements of its resolution 1199 (1998), and requests the full and prompt implementation of these agreements by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

"2. Notes the endorsement by the Government of Serbia of the accord reached by the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the United States Special Envoy (S/1998/953, annex), and the public commitment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to complete negotiations on a framework for a political settlement by 2 November 1998, and calls for the full implementation of these commitments;

"3. Demands that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia comply fully and swiftly with resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998) and cooperate fully with the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo and the NATO Air Verification Mission over Kosovo according to the terms of the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above;

"4. Demands also that the Kosovo Albanian leadership and all other elements of the Kosovo Albanian community comply fully and swiftly with resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998) and cooperate fully with the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo;

"5. Stresses the urgent need for the authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to enter immediately into a meaningful dialogue without preconditions and with international involvement, and to a clear timetable, leading to an end of the crisis and to a negotiated political solution to the issues of Kosovo;

"6. Demands that the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Albanian leadership and all others concerned respect the freedom of movement of the OSCE Verification Mission and other international personnel;

"7. Urges States and international organizations to make available personnel to the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo;

"8. Reminds the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that it has the primary responsibility for the safety and security of all diplomatic personnel accredited to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including members of the OSCE Verification Mission, as well as the safety and security of all international and non-governmental humanitarian personnel in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and calls upon the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and all others concerned throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including the Kosovo Albanian leadership, to take all appropriate

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steps to ensure that personnel performing functions under this resolution and the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above are not subject to the threat or use of force or interference of any kind;

"9. Welcomes in this context the commitment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to guarantee the safety and security of the Verification Missions as contained in the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above, notes that, to this end, the OSCE is considering arrangements to be implemented in cooperation with other organizations, and affirms that, in the event of an emergency, action may be needed to ensure their safety and freedom of movement as envisaged in the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above;

"10. Insists that the Kosovo Albanian leadership condemn all terrorist actions, demands that such actions cease immediately, and emphasizes that all elements in the Kosovo Albanian community should pursue their goals by peaceful means only;

"11. Demands immediate action from the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to cooperate with international efforts to improve the humanitarian situation and to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe;

"12. Reaffirms the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in safety, and underlines the responsibility of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for creating the conditions which allow them to do so;

"13. Urges Member States and others concerned to provide adequate resources for humanitarian assistance in the region and to respond promptly and generously to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Humanitarian Assistance related to the Kosovo crisis;

"14. Calls for prompt and complete investigation, including international supervision and participation, of all atrocities committed against civilians, and full cooperation wit the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, including compliance with its orders, request for information and investigations;

"15. Decides that the prohibitions imposed by paragraph 8 of resolution 1160 (1998) shall not apply to relevant equipment for the sole use of the Verification Missions in accordance with the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above;

"16. Requests the Secretary-General, acting in consultation with the parties concerned with the agreements referred to in paragraph 1 above, to report regularly to the Council regarding implementation of this resolution;

"17. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

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Statements

EUGENIUSZ WYZNER (Poland) said the solution to the problem in Kosovo should be based on respect for the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and on the principles of the United Nations Charter. The rights of the Kosovo Albanians must be taken into account and could be demonstrated by granting Kosovo the status of a "special province". The resolutions and actions taken by the international community had resulted in a cessation of hostilities and the start of a dialogue.

However, recent reports of resumed fighting were disturbing, he said. Effective implementation of recent agreements had to be assured. The measures called for in the draft before the Council today implied a complex undertaking. There would be difficulties, even reversals. Nonetheless, urgent action was called for, especially with the oncoming of winter. The first priority must be addressed of the situation in Kosovo, and all organizations must cooperate to that end.

VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said the draft resolution to be adopted by the Security Council today was another serious signal to the conflicting parties about the real possibility of repercussions, unless acts of violence against the civilian population and terrorist activities were stopped. The declared readiness of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia leadership to comply with United Nations resolutions were noted, and welcomed.

It was still hoped that the steps would be taken by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia leadership to avert the use of force, he said. As an active participant in the settlement of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia from its very outbreak, Ukraine reaffirmed its readiness to participate in the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo and to join the international efforts at mediation. While striving to achieve a peaceful solution in Kosovo, the international community was demonstrating an unprecedented pattern of cooperation between the United Nations and relevant regional organizations. That pattern could serve as a practical model for the efficient integration of all interested parties.

The settlement of the dangerous crisis situation in the region by peaceful means should be achieved through political dialogue, he said. The dialogue should be based on recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as on respect for the human rights of all people living in Kosovo. A solution to the problem of Kosovo might be found through the expansion of its autonomy.

RASHID AL-DOSARI (Bahrain) said the draft was an international effort to settle the Kosovo crisis by peaceful means. It was not logical for the international community to turn a blind eye to the many acts of violence to which many victims had fallen. The NATO and the OSCE agreements were good

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mandates that moved in the right direction. He hoped that they would be followed by other steps in the same direction which would eventually result in a ceasefire and a halting of all violations, and culminate in the punishment and extradition of war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

He said the question of the displaced and refugees was very pressing, and the Belgrade authorities must find a solution and create a favourable and necessary environment for those people to return home. Winter was nearing and 250,000 refugees still remained; 50,000 of them were without homes to go to. He hoped that the draft would send a clear signal to all parties to put down their weapons and abide by reason and logic. Bahrain supported the draft.

JOSE TADEU SOARES (Portugal) said the draft resolution was an endorsement by the Council of the NATO and the OSCE agreements. Their objectives were to end violence against civilians, return refugees and maintain dialogue between the Kosovo communities. Portugal believed that the Council should, through the adoption of the draft, send a strong signal of support for the verification missions. It was up the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to implement agreements and comply fully with the resolution.

BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said the savage violence against unarmed peoples and families in Kosovo was unacceptable. His delegation repudiated the policies of ethnic cleansing. Costa Rica believed that the verification mission was the key instrument in guaranteeing the peace process in Kosovo and preserving humanitarian law. The moral objective today left no room for doubt. Costa Rica would not fail to lend its support to multilateral actions aimed at such a lofty purpose.

He said his delegation had some misgiving about the resolution. He cited its lack of clarity with regard to international law. Any measure that used force or military units must comply with the Charter. Any use of force needed the clear authority of the Council. The Council should not transfer or set aside its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The Council was the only body that could determine violation of its resolutions and justify the use of force in preserving international peace and security. Nevertheless, Costa Rica would not stand in the way of the passage of the resolution.

ANDERS LIDEN (Sweden) said the objectives of resolution 1199 (1998) still had to be met. The number of refugees was still alarmingly high. Most of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia troops and special police that needed to withdraw had not yet done so. Also, the political negotiations between the parties on the future status of Kosovo needed to be accelerated. The agreements reached between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the OSCE and NATO provided the basis for the international community to verify compliance with Security Council resolutions 1199 (1998) and 1160 (1998).

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Sweden welcomed those agreements and had begun recruiting personnel for the OSCE Kosovo verification mission, he continued. It was imperative for the efforts of the international community in Kosovo that the Council now give its full endorsement to the OSCE and NATO verification missions. The draft resolution before delegations today sent a clear message to the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, and to the Kosovo Albanians that the Council expected full and unequivocal cooperation with the missions. He trusted that Council would not fail to act -- and with appropriate firmness -- if such cooperation was not forthcoming.

DANILO TÜRK (Slovenia) said he welcomed the agreements reached with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and considered them as a possible first step towards a lasting solution to the question of Kosovo. Authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were expected to implement their commitments immediately and in full. There was an urgent need for the authorities of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to enter into a meaningful dialogue, which was the only way to a political solution.

The draft resolution on which the Council was about to take action not only endorsed the agreements, but also ensured and provided steps for their full implementation, he said. By the text, the Security Council assumed its responsibility under the Charter and was reacting to the humanitarian catastrophe that had dangerous implications for international peace and stability. Slovenia would provide personnel, as well as technological and logistical support, to the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo.

NJUGUNA M. MAHUGU (Kenya) said recent movement towards a negotiated solution of the conflict in Kosovo had been very encouraging. The agreements signed were welcomed. Nevertheless, the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia bore the primary responsibility for the well-being and security of all its citizens.

It was unfortunate that civilians had become the target of conflict in Kosovo, he said. It was unfortunate that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia authorities minimized the extent of the conflict. He commended all humanitarian organizations assisting the people of Kosovo and urged those concerned to provide adequate resources for humanitarian assistance. He would vote in favour of the draft text.

BABOUCARR-BLAISE I. JAGNE (Gambia) said resolution 1199 (1998) had some backbone and without it the entire situation in Kosovo would have spelt disaster. Common sense seemed to have prevailed in the signing in Belgrade of the agreements to establish verification missions in Kosovo. The present resolution would pave the way for a negotiated settlement, provided that both parties concerned were ready to cooperation.

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The text of the draft resolution was balanced, he said. It had incorporated, as much as possible, the concerns of all members of the Council. He would vote in favour of it.

MASAKI KONISHI (Japan) said the verification missions would play a significant role in compliance. Kosovo Albanians would be mistaken to take the international actions as a message of support for Kosovo independence. Settlement of the situation had to be through peaceful means. Japan had dispatched a mission to study how to further help the parties. Yesterday, it had decided to allocate $7.3 million for assistance to Kosovo, which would be provided through United Nations agencies. Japan would continue to make contributions and hoped that the missions would succeed in discharging their mandates.

DENIS DANGUE REWAKA (Gabon), said for several months secessionist movements in Kosovo did not hesitate to commit terrorist acts of unparalleled abomination. Homes were deliberately destroyed by fires, forcing women, the aged and children to seek refuge elsewhere. Such actions not only caused panic and disarray among the civilian population, but aggravated the situation in Kosovo. While it was true that the Kosovo crisis was an internal matter, it was equally true that the international community and the United Nations had a duty and a moral obligation to provide assistance and relief. To do otherwise would be a failure to shoulder Charter responsibilities. The international verification mission in Kosovo showed that diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful means had prevailed. Impelled by all those considerations his delegation would vote in favour of the draft.

CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) said the agreements negotiated in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had set the stage for a process of conciliation that should lead to greater autonomy for Albanian Kosovars within a federated Republic. In negotiations on this resolution, the Council had been caught between two tendencies, one arguing that the Council's role should not go beyond endorsement of agreements and others contending in favour of keeping as much pressure on parties as possible. It was clear the Council could not allow itself to be interpreted as showing complacency with non-compliance or even incomplete compliance with resolutions.

Another important issue, however, transcended the confined limits of Kosovo, he said. The question of how regional groups defined themselves was for them to decide. But according to the United Nations Charter, non-universal organisms may resort to force only on the basis of self-defence. The integration of non-universal organizations into the wider collective security concept enshrined in the Charter was a serious matter. It would be regrettable if there developed a two-tiered international system in which the Security Council bore responsibility for the peace and security of most of the world, while bearing secondary responsibility in regions covered by special defence arrangements. The resolution being voted on had reaffirmed the Council's primary responsibility.

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SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said his country had had a most active role in recent developments in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Events had been moving forward and with full respect for the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Progress had been made, including the cooperation with the international community of the Serbian authorities and those of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the international community. Those positive shifts had been seen by diplomatic observers of the countries working in the region.

The solution of the problem remained the sole interest of the contact group, but differences existed in how to move towards that objective, he said. The line of the contact group had prevailed in the resolution, which excluded mentions of the use of force. Much attention had been paid to the security of the missions in Kosovo, and the wording related to action in the event of an emergency was satisfactory.

However, the Kosovo Albanians had not condemned terrorism, and reports indicated arms and fighters were getting through to the Kosovo Liberation Army, he said. There was fear of renewed violence. The resolution also did not take into account recent developments in Belgrade, and it could not be agreed that the situation in Kosovo presented an international danger. For reasons such as that the use of force had been reflected in a draft and Russia would not condone that, it would abstain in the vote on the resolution, but would continue to make a contribution to the solution of the Kosovo situation.

JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said he welcomed the resolution, which put the weight of the Security Council behind the other agreements. It was right that the commitments be enshrined in a mandatory Chapter VII resolution. In agreeing to the OSCE and the NATO missions, President Milosevic had accepted that the international community had a significant role in resolving the problems of Kosovo. The United Kingdom would provide 200 members of the OSCE mission, he said. It would also provide aircraft for the air verification mission over Kosovo. It would be resolute in following up implementation of the agreements and of the resolutions.

The resolution and the agreements it endorsed marked the beginning of an accelerated political process, he said. It called upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia authorities and the Kosovo Albanian leadership to seize the opportunity to build a new Kosovo based on free elections and the principle of self-governments for its people. Failure to do so would not be accepted by the international community.

The Council then adopted Security Council resolution 1203 (1998) by a vote of 13 in favour, none against and 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation).

Security Council - 15 - Press Release SC/6588 3937th Meeting (PM) 24 October 1998

QIN HUASAN (China), speaking after the vote, said a regional organization had tried to interfere in the internal affairs of a country without consulting the Security Council. Such an irresponsible action had violated the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the sovereignty of States. That was a dangerous precedent in international relations, and China was greatly concerned. He said maintaining the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the responsibility of the United Nations, according to its Charter. China did not oppose the adoption of a well focused technical resolution on Kosovo that would encourage a peaceful end to the crisis. It was, however, opposed to the use of a Council resolution to pressure the internal affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. China had put forward its amendments. Its request for deletion of the elements that authorized the use of force or the threat of the use of force were accommodated. The resolution still contained some elements beyond the agreements reached by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and relevant parties, such as invoking Chapter VII of the Charter and interference in internal affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. China, therefore, abstained from voting. PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said the resolution before the Council demanded swift and full compliance with resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998), and full cooperation with the OSCE and NATO verification missions. It also demanded such compliance by the Kosovo Albanians. His delegation believed that was the key to the creation of a climate of trust which was indispensable to the return of refugees and displaced persons. The investigations of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia into Kosovo were also essential to restoring peace and security. Those efforts must continue with the cooperation of everyone. He said the threat of force was key to achieving the OSCE and NATO agreements and remained key to ensuring their full implementation. The NATO allies, in agreeing to the use of force, had made it clear that they had the authority, the will, and the means to resolve the issue. "We retain that authority. We will not tolerate the continued violence that has resulted in nearly a quarter of a million refugees and displaced persons, thousands of deaths, and jeopardized the prospects for peace in the wider Balkan." ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said all the provisions for verification were in place. While the way was now open for a peaceful settlement to the Kosovo crisis, it would depend on the watchfulness of all. The objective of the resolution that was just adopted endorsed the agreements adopted in Belgrade. Members of the Council were acting on experiences gained from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said. The Council welcomed the commitment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to guarantee the security of personnel of the verification missions. France affirmed, however, that, in cases of emergency, it had the ability to act to ensure that agreements established in Belgrade were maintained. The decision of the Council supported persistent efforts and negotiations, and contributed to peace and security in the region.

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For information media. Not an official record.