SECURITY COUNCIL 1998: ELUSIVE QUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY19990112
Despite auspicious signs at the beginning of 1998 that peaceful solutions would resolve some long-standing conflicts and crises, by the end of the year the overall global security landscape looked grim, with renewed bombing of Iraq, as well as continued conflict in Africa.
On the day of the Council's debate on maintenance of international peace and security and post-conflict peace-building, two of its permanent members engaged in military strikes against Iraq for its failure to comply with requirements of United Nations weapons inspections. The Secretary-General called it a sad day for the United Nations, for the world and "for me personally", as throughout the year he had done everything in his power to avert the use of force.
It was a year of shattered hopes in Angola where the 24-year-old civil war, which had virtually become the status quo, proved more resilient than the fragile peace process. In the Great Lakes region of Africa, the long-sought peace proved elusive, and the refugee situation remained epidemic. Humanitarian conditions continued to deteriorate in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The questions of Western Sahara, Cyprus, Haiti and the Middle East continued on their protracted path towards a final settlement.
In addition to addressing those specific conflict situations, the Council held extended debates on the increasing attacks against humanitarian personnel and addressed the plight of children in war.
What was happening in today's war zones was beyond imagination, the Deputy Secretary-General stated, as the Council discussed ways to improve protection for humanitarian assistance for refugees and others in conflict situations. The Council was also told about the inadequacy of programmes that failed to address the needs of child soldiers, causing many of them to return to fighting.
1998 was a year of "firsts" as well. As the debate on Security Council reform continued in the General Assembly, the Council sought to increase its transparency, holding two open briefings in an innovative format, one by the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, and the other on Sierra Leone.
The Council heard from Mrs. Ogata that the increasingly blurred line between war and peace -- and the need to reach out to victims of forced displacement across those lines -- made the protection of refugees and returnees more complex than ever. The Chairman of the Council's Sierra Leone Sanctions Committee, Hans Dahlgren (Sweden), expressed grave concern about the country's young people, who at age of eight or 10 were some of the fiercest fighters in the war in that country.
Collaboration with regional organizations continued and increased in 1998, when United Nations operations worked closely with entities, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Nuclear tests in India and Pakistan were deplored as contrary to the de facto moratorium on nuclear weapons testing and global nuclear disarmament efforts. The Council also responded to terrorist bombings in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, Israeli expansion in Jerusalem, and discrimination against returnees in Croatia.
In 1998, the Council held 116 open meetings and 226 informal meetings. It adopted 73 resolutions (19 more than in 1997) and issued 38 statements (19 less than in 1997), as it sought to prevent and address crises, while simultaneously attempting to redefine its own role and preparing to confront the world of the twenty-first century.
Following are summaries of Council activity in 1998.
On 16 December, addressing the press immediately after the United Kingdom and the United States initiated military action against Iraq, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated: "This is a sad day for the United Nations, and for the world."
And he added: "It is also a very sad day for me personally. Throughout this year, I have done everything in my power to ensure peaceful compliance with Security Council resolutions, and to avert the use of force. This has not been an easy or a painless process. It has required patience, determination and the will to seek peace even when all signs pointed to war. However daunting the task, the United Nations had to try as long as any hope for peace remained. I deeply regret that today these efforts have proved insufficient."
- 3 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Early in the year, on 24 February, upon his return from a mission to Iraq, the Secretary-General had told the press: "I have just finished briefing the Security Council, and I am pleased to tell you that I had a general sense of approval from the membership as to the agreement that I signed in Baghdad." The agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, fulfilled the principal objectives of his mission: ensuring respect for preserving the integrity of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with overseeing the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The Secretary-General then stressed that the agreement was "a victory not for me, if we call it victory, but a victory for the United Nations, for this Organization, which sent me there as a servant". He concluded his press conference by stating: "I have done my work. I trust the Council will do its duty."
Those two statements of the Secretary-General to the press marked the high and low points of another year of discord between UNSCOM and the Government of Iraq, and among members of the Security Council on how to proceed with deliberations on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.
In 1998, the Council held 10 meetings on the situation between Iraq/Kuwait, most of them on the long-standing dispute over UNSCOM's freedom to investigate the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The air strikes came in the wake of the Special Commission's latest report, which stated that Iraq had not met its obligation to cooperate fully with UNSCOM and that the Commission was unable to conduct the substantive disarmament work mandated to it by the Council. The Special Commission was established by the Council in 1991 to monitor the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Under resolution 687 (1991), the Council spelled out the terms of the ceasefire and set up a sanctions regime to be lifted when Iraq had demonstrated to the Council's satisfaction that it had destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction.
Meeting in formal session shortly after the 16 December bombing began, Council members held divided views.
The representative of the Russian Federation said the "unprovoked act of force" by the United States and the United Kingdom violated the principles of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. While there were problems between Iraq and UNSCOM, the current crisis was artificially created. The Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, Richard Butler, had presented a distorted picture of what was taking place in Iraq. He "grossly abused his authority", and his actions led to the sharp deterioration of the situation.
China's representative said the military action by the two States was unprovoked and completely groundless. The differences between Iraq and UNSCOM could be settled by dialogue. The use of force might create serious consequences
- 4 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
for the implementation of Council resolutions. He called for a stop to all military action and to a return to the path of cooperation and dialogue. The leader of UNSCOM had played a dishonourable role in the crisis, he added.
The representative of the United Kingdom said the military action had not been a hasty decision. The road to the crisis had been long, and at any point on that road Iraq could have chosen to cooperate fully and freely, avoiding the action that had to be taken. Iraq had never given UNSCOM the cooperation it needed to complete its task. Iraq had concealed evidence, blocked inspections and failed to produce documents relevant to its programmes of mass destruction weapons, which were known to exist. The whole continuing history of concealment and deceit had led to the military action.
The representative of the United States said the coalition forces were acting under the authority provided by Council resolutions. Military action had been taken only when it was evident that diplomacy had been exhausted. The Government of Iraq bore full responsibility for the consequences of the military operation. By refusing to make available documents and information requested by UNSCOM within the scope of its mandate, by imposing new restrictions on the weapons inspectors and by repeatedly denying access to facilities which UNSCOM wished to inspect, Iraq had acted in flagrant material breach of resolution 687 (1991).
The year began on the same discordant note. The first meeting was on 14 January, when the Council issued a presidential statement deploring Iraq's failure to provide UNSCOM with full, unconditional and immediate access to all sites, and demanded its full, immediate and unconditional cooperation with the Special Commission. The day before, the Iraqi Government had prevented UNSCOM from doing its work, and had accused the lead weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, of spying for the United States.
On 17 February, the Secretary-General announced his intention to go to Baghdad at the conclusion of a series of consultations with the five permanent members of the Council.
The Council, through resolution 1154 (1998) adopted on 2 March, endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations and Iraq. The agreement outlined special procedures for the inspection of eight presidential sites, and warned that any violation by Iraq of its obligation to accord immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to inspection sites would have "severest consequences" for that country.
The Memorandum established a Special Group for inspection of the specified sites, including senior diplomats appointed by the Secretary-General and members of UNSCOM and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The five-member United Nations Technical Mission to Iraq visited the eight presidential sites and issued its report on 20 February.
- 5 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
On 14 May, the Council, in a presidential statement, welcomed the improved access provided by Iraq to UNSCOM and the IAEA, and hoped that it reflected a new spirit regarding the provision of accurate and detailed information in all areas of concern. However, it also expressed concern at indications that Iraq had not provided full disclosure in a number of critical areas, despite repeated requests from the Special Commission, and called upon it to do so.
On 4 August, UNSCOM Executive Chairman reported that talks with the Iraqi officials broke down in Baghdad after his proposal to extend his team's work on missile and chemical weapons was rejected. The Council President, in a statement to the press, expressed concern that things were not going well, and the disarmament process was not yet complete.
On 5 August, the Government of Iraq announced its decision to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA on all disarmament activities and restrict ongoing monitoring and verification activities at declared sites. On 9 August, UNSCOM suspended inspections after the decision by Baghdad to halt cooperation with the United Nations.
On 9 September, by resolution 1194 (1998), the Council condemned Iraq's decision to suspend cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA as a "totally unacceptable contravention of its obligations" under relevant Council resolutions. Stressing the unacceptability of any attempts by Iraq to deny access to sites or to refuse to cooperate, it decided not to conduct the sanctions review scheduled for October and any further such reviews until Iraq rescinds its decision, and the Special Commission and the IAEA report that they are satisfied that they have been able to exercise the full range of activities provided for in their mandates, including inspections.
On 31 October, the Iraqi Government decided to cease cooperation altogether with the Special Commission and to limit IAEA activities to monitoring. Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council, on 5 November, condemned Iraq's decision as a flagrant violation of Council resolutions and demanded that it rescind both the latest decision and that of 5 August. The Council demanded further that Iraq provide immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation with the two bodies, by resolution 1205 (1998).
At the 5 November meeting, the representative of the United Kingdom warned that the authorization to use force might be revived if there was a serious breach of the conditions set down in resolution 687 (1991). The representative of the United States emphasized that his Government had the authority to act.
As tension increased, there was a massive United States military build- up in the Persian Gulf. In a 13 November letter to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Secretary-General expressed his and the Council's preference for
- 6 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The only way to have sanctions lifted was for Iraq to fully cooperate with the Security Council, he said. He was surprised that the Iraqi decision not to cooperate with UNSCOM had come at a time when the Council had agreed to a way forward on a comprehensive sanctions review. He appealed, once again, to the Iraqi leadership to resume cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA.
In response, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq said that Iraq's goal was to move towards the lifting of sanctions, but that the American position stood in the way of the comprehensive review. Iraq would resume working with UNSCOM and the IAEA and allow them to perform their normal duties.
Annexed to the letter were a number of "points" to be adopted that several Council members interpreted as conditions and deemed unacceptable. After several new versions and clarifications of the letter, the President of the Council, following consultations among Council members, read a statement to the press on 15 November indicating that Iraq had decided, clearly and unconditionally, to rescind the decisions of 5 August and 31 October, allowing the inspectors to return. Moreover, Council members were ready to proceed with a comprehensive review, once the Secretary-General had confirmed that Iraq had returned to full cooperation.
Four weeks later, on 15 December, the Secretary-General sent a letter to the Council President transmitting the reports of the IAEA and UNSCOM concerning their work in Iraq. The reports covered the period since 17 November.
In his letter, the Secretary-General noted the finding by the IAEA that Iraq "has provided the necessary level of cooperation to enable the above- enumerated activities to be completed efficiently and effectively". The report from UNSCOM, he said, included material related to issues prior to 17 November. With regard to the period since then, the report presented a "mixed picture", and concluded that UNSCOM had not enjoyed full cooperation from Iraq.
Also in the letter, the Secretary-General presented three options for the Council to consider: that the experience since 17 November had not provided a sufficient basis to move forward with a comprehensive review at this time; that Iraq had not provided full cooperation, but that it should be permitted additional time to demonstrate its commitment to do so; and that the Council might proceed with a comprehensive review on the premise that it was sufficiently important to know precisely what had been achieved in the area of disarmament over the entire period since 1991. The Secretary-General said he stood ready to assist the Council in whatever manner it deemed best.
On the night of 15 December, both the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM and the Director-General of the IAEA decided to temporarily relocate to Bahrain
- 7 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
all personnel currently in Baghdad, out of concern for their safety and security. Later that day, the Council suspended a debate on "maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peace-building" to hold informal consultations following news reports that a military strike against Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom had begun.
In a year that saw United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday resign in protest over the sanctions in place against the country, the Council met four times in 1998 on the programme of humanitarian assistance known as "oil-for-food", twice, most recently on 24 November, deciding to extend the programme for 180 days. In light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country, the Council had, on 20 February, increased the amount of Iraqi oil revenues from $2 billion to $5.256 billion. On 19 June, however, noting that under existing circumstances Iraq was unable to export petroleum or petroleum products to produce the $5.256 billion worth of oil, the Council authorized States to export necessary equipment to allow Iraq to meet that sum.
United Nations operations and the peace process in Angola suffered tragedy in 1998, when a plane carrying the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the country since 1993, Alioune Blondin Beye, and seven other persons, including five members of the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA), crashed in Côte d'Ivoire in June. On 7 August, Issa B.Y. Diallo was appointed as the new Special Representative.
Another plane crash occurred in territory controlled by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) on 26 December and led, on 31 December, to the last of 14 Council meetings during the year on the situation in Angola.
When it met at 2:29 p.m. on New Year's Eve, the Council adopted resolution 1219 (1998) demanding that the UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi, immediately guarantee security and access in the search and rescue for possible survivors of the crash and of other aircraft reported to have disappeared over UNITA-controlled territory. It called for an international investigation of such incidents and deplored the "incomprehensible lack of cooperation" in determining the circumstances of the tragedy.
Throughout 1998, in its efforts to put an end to Angola's 24-year-old civil war, the Council repeatedly stressed that the impasse in the peace process was due primarily to UNITA's failure to comply with its obligations, including its failure to demilitarize and its lack of cooperation in the extension of State control throughout Angola, particularly in UNITA's diamond-rich strongholds. In several of its resolutions, the Council urged UNITA to transform itself into a genuine political party.
- 8 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
The year began with both the Angolan Government and UNITA taking steps towards implementing provisions of the 1991 Peace Accords and the 1994 United Nations-brokered Lusaka Protocol. By September, however, the Angolan Government was no longer dealing with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, but with the UNITA Renovation Committee, which had separated from UNITA because its leader was not complying with the Peace Accords. In October, Angola's representative told the Council his Government supported extending MONUA's mandate until December and then its phasing out and total withdrawal.
Charged with completing the demobilization process, incorporating former UNITA combatants into the Angolan police, armed forces and Government, and with facilitating democracy, MONUA was extended, in increments throughout the year, until 26 February 1999. Established by the Council in July 1997, MONUA is the fourth successive United Nations peacekeeping operation in Angola since 1989.
The safety and security of United Nations personnel and international humanitarian workers in Angola became increasingly compromised as the year progressed.
Three days after an attack by UNITA against personnel from the United Nations and the Angolan National Police, the Council, on 22 May, issued a statement demanding that both sides -- and in particular UNITA -- guarantee the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations and other international personnel. It also expressed concern at abuses committed by the Angolan National Police in areas recently transferred to State administration. Demanding that both parties fulfil their obligations under the Lusaka Protocol by 31 May, the Council reaffirmed its readiness to consider imposing trade and financial restrictions on UNITA if it failed to comply.
Two weeks after that deadline, the Council adopted resolution 1173 (1998), on 12 June, by which it decided that, barring full cooperation from UNITA, a series of measures would be imposed against it starting 25 June, including a freeze on its funds and the prohibition of the sale of its diamonds. The Council subsequently changed the date for the sanctions to take effect to 1 July.
In August, by resolution 1190 (1998), it called on the Government to ensure that the Angolan National Police refrained from practices inconsistent with the Lusaka Protocol and to respect the legal activities of UNITA as a political party in accordance with the agreement.
A month later, by resolution 1195 (1998), the Council stated that the primary cause of the crisis in Angola and of the impasse in the peace process was the failure by the UNITA leadership to comply with its obligations under the Peace Accords, the Lusaka Protocol and the relevant Security Council resolutions. It demanded UNITA's compliance with its obligations while urging Luanda authorities to reconsider the decision to suspend the participation of UNITA members in the Government.
- 9 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
At the same time, it endorsed the Secretary-General's decision to have MONUA adjust its deployment on the ground, as needed, to ensure the safety and security of its personnel. It demanded that the Government and, in particular, UNITA, guarantee unconditionally the safety and freedom of movement of the Special Representative and all United Nations and international humanitarian personnel.
By resolution 1202 (1998), adopted on 15 October, the Council extended MONUA's mandate through 3 December and asked the Secretary-General to prepare to draw down the force and adjust the Mission's deployment and force structure according to security conditions and its ability to implement its mandate. It also asked the sanctions monitoring committee to investigate reports that Jonas Savimbi had travelled outside Angola and to investigate reports that UNITA forces had received military training, assistance and arms from outside Angola, in violation of Council's decisions.
Adopted on 3 December, resolution 1213 (1998) called on UNITA to cooperate in the withdrawal of MONUA personnel from Andulo and Bailundo, and said it held UNITA's leaders in Bailundo responsible for the safety and security of Mission personnel. The Council again expressed growing concern for the security and freedom of movement of MONUA personnel throughout Angola and called on the Government, and particularly UNITA, to ensure their safety. Extending MONUA's mandate until the end of February 1999, it recognized that in light of deteriorating security conditions, the Secretary-General might make further recommendations before that date.
In its last presidential statement on Angola of 1998, the Council, on 23 December, deplored the serious deterioration of the situation and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. It reaffirmed its firm commitment to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and reiterated that only a political settlement, on the basis of previous agreements and resolutions, would bring lasting peace to Angola.
Sierra Leone, Central African Republic
The plight of children and the civilian population in Sierra Leone was among the concerns and actions of the Council regarding the situation in that country in 1998.
On 18 December, during one of the Council's two open briefings during the year -- a format innovation aimed at increasing transparency -- the Chairman of the Council's Sierra Leone Sanctions Committee, Hans Dahlgren (Sweden), expressed grave concern about the country's young people, many of whom had been abducted into the ranks of the Revolutionary United Front and were now, at age of eight or 10, some of the fiercest fighters in the war. Regarding the situation overall, he told the Council that rebels were committing gruesome atrocities against civilians, and the sanctions were not
- 10 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
being fully implemented, particularly as the borders of Sierra Leone and Liberia were extremely difficult to monitor.
In the first part of 1998, the Council welcomed the end of military rule in Sierra Leone -- which had begun with a coup d'état in May 1997 -- and the return, on 10 March 1998, of the country's democratically elected President, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. By mid-March, unanimously adopting resolution 1156 (1998), the Council decided to terminate its prohibitions on the sale or supply to Sierra Leone of petroleum and petroleum products, imposed by its earlier resolution 1132 (1997).
In April, by resolution 1162 (1998), the Council authorized the deployment of up to 10 United Nations military and security advisers to Sierra Leone for up to 90 days to perform a range of functions, including -- in coordination with the Government and the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) -- assisting in ECOMOG's planning for future tasks, such as identifying former combatant elements to be disarmed.
In a statement on 20 May, the Council called on the rebels -- members of the Revolutionary United Front and the deposed military junta -- to immediately surrender to ECOMOG forces. Atrocities being committed against civilians by the rebels, which included widespread rape, mutilation and slaughter, were condemned as gross violations of international humanitarian law. It also called on all States to observe the provisions of resolution 1132 (1997) and avoid actions that might destabilize the situation further.
The following month, the Council ended the arms embargo on the Government of Sierra Leone. Through resolution 1171 (1998), it decided that all States should prevent the sale of arms and related matériel and petroleum products to parties other than the Government and ECOMOG. To prevent such goods from reaching non-governmental forces, they had to come through specific points of entry. Travel restrictions and other prohibitions against members of the former military junta and of the Revolutionary United Front were maintained until government control had been re-established over all its territory and all non-governmental forces disarmed and demobilized.
On 13 July, the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) was established by Council resolution 1181 (1998), initially until 13 January 1999. Consisting of up to 70 military observers, accompanied by a small medical unit and civilian support staff, the Mission was mandated to monitor the military situation, disarmament efforts and respect for international humanitarian law. The Council condemned the continued resistance by remnants of the ousted junta and members of the Revolutionary United Front to the legitimate Government and demanded that they immediately lay down their arms. It welcomed the Government's efforts to coordinate an effective national response to the needs of children affected by armed conflict, and the recommendation of the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children
- 11 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
and Armed Conflict that Sierra Leone be made a pilot project for a concerted response to the needs of children in the context of post-conflict peace-building.
On 27 March, the Council, by resolution 1159 (1998), created the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) for an initial three-month period, effective from 15 April, with up to 1,350 military personnel. It also extended until 15 April the authorization of the Inter- African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB) and asked the Secretary-General to take measures to ensure a smooth transition between the two.
The MISAB was a regional response to a 1996 army rebellion that destabilized the Central African Republic. Established on 31 January 1997, it was mandated to restore peace and security in the country, in part by monitoring the implementation of the Bangui Agreements.
On 5 February, the Council, by resolution 1152 (1998), had extended until 16 March the authorization of MISAB. When that date arrived, it again extended -- by resolution 1155 (1998) -- authorization until 27 March. In both those texts, the Council expressed its intention to decide shortly on the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic. That intention later materialized with the establishment of MINURCA.
In July, the Council extended MINURCA's mandate through 25 October by resolution 1182 (1998), and called on the Government to adopt a plan for organizing legislative elections, so the United Nations and other international bodies could provide assistance. It also urged Member States to support the efforts of the authorities of the Central African Republic in the economic and social development of the country and especially encouraged international financial institutions to cooperate.
By resolution 1201 (1998), adopted in October, the Council welcomed the announcement by the authorities of the Central African Republic and the Mixed and Independent Electoral Commission that legislative elections would be held on 22 November and 13 December 1998. It extended MINURCA's mandate until 28 February 1999, at which time the Council intended it to be terminated, with the draw down beginning by January.
Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda
The outcome of an investigation of alleged massacres and other human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the renewed outbreak of fighting in the country in August were dealt with by the Council in 1998 through three presidential statements.
- 12 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
In a letter to the Council dated 29 June submitting the report of his Investigative Team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary- General stated that "The events described in the report of the Team did not occur in a vacuum. The background to them is the terrible 1994 genocide in Rwanda which cast an enormous shadow, which has not yet lifted, over the whole Great Lakes region of Africa." He further stated that "It is a source of deep regret that, between its first deployment in August 1997 and its withdrawal in April 1998, the Team was not allowed to carry out its mission fully and without hindrance." Nevertheless, he added, the Team was able to reach a number of conclusions that were supported by strong evidence.
In a presidential statement issued on 13 July, the Council called on the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to investigate without delay the allegations found in the report of the Investigative Team, and condemned massacres and other violations of international humanitarian law committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Council expressed its readiness to consider additional steps to ensure that the perpetrators of the crimes and atrocities were brought to justice.
The Team had been deployed to help break a deadlock between the Government and the Joint Investigative Mission mandated by the Commission on Human Rights to investigate allegations of massacres and other violations of human rights which arose from the situation that prevailed in former eastern Zaire since September 1996. The Team's report detailed extensive violence that took place in various parts of eastern Zaire, especially in the provinces bordering Rwanda, from 1 March 1993 through 31 December 1997.
On 5 August, after fighting broke out again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Secretary-General, through his Spokesman, expressed great concern over the serious developments in the country, "which threaten the stability of the region and further compromise its reconstruction and development".
On 31 August, the Council issued a statement expressing alarm at the plight of civilians and calling for their protection, urging all parties to respect and protect human rights and respect humanitarian law. The Council called for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign forces, and the initiation of political dialogue, expressing support for regional diplomatic initiatives to settle the conflict.
Later in the year, in a letter dated 4 December, the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo transmitted to the Council a memorandum from his Government "on the crimes against humanity and grave human rights violations committed by the armed forces of the Rwandan- Ugandan coalition in the occupied provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo". The memorandum, dated 2 December, stresses that it is an "alert" by the Congolese Government to the international community about those events.
- 13 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
The five-part memorandum addresses the following: murders, arbitrary arrests, displacement of population, and intimidation of the population. In its conclusion, the memorandum contains an appeal from the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Security Council to shoulder all its responsibilities and to discharge fully its function of maintaining international peace and security, by, among other measures, strongly condemning the invasion of Congolese territory by Rwandan and Ugandan troops, and calling on Rwanda and Uganda to halt forthwith all acts of violence against the Congolese population of the occupied provinces.
On 11 December, the Council issued a presidential statement expressing deep concern about the conflict, with its grave humanitarian consequences and the threat it posed to regional peace and stability. It said it was prepared to consider "active involvement" of the United Nations, in coordination with the OAU, including assisting in implementing a ceasefire and political settlement. The Council supported the regional mediation process begun by the OAU and the SADC and reaffirmed the importance of holding an international conference on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region of Africa, under the auspices of the United Nations and the OAU.
In April, the Council asked the Secretary-General to reactivate its International Commission of Inquiry to investigate reports of the sale and supply of arms and related matériel to former government forces and militias of Rwanda, and to have it make recommendations relating to the illegal flow of arms in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Adopting resolution 1161 (1998), it also mandated the Commission to identify parties aiding and abetting the illegal sales to or acquisition of arms by former Rwandan government forces and militia.
The uncontrolled illegal flow of arms and related matériel to Rwanda was fuelling violence and could lead to further acts of genocide, the Council stated, adding that it posed a threat to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. States in the region were called upon to ensure that their territory was not used as a base for armed groups to launch incursions or attacks against any other State.
The Council's other actions concerning the country in 1998 related to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. At the end of April, it established a third Trial Chamber of the Tribunal by resolution 1165 (1998) and amended articles of the Tribunal's Statute accordingly. Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, it decided to hold elections for the judges of the three Trial Chambers for a term of office to expire on 24 May 2003.
The Council first extended the deadline for nominating judges until 4 August and subsequently to 14 September 1998, both times by adopting letters from its President to the Secretary-General. It did so in view of the fact
- 14 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
that less than 18 candidates had been nominated, while, according to the Tribunal's Statute, a list of between 18 and 27 candidates was needed.
At the end of September, a month that saw the Tribunal hand down the first-ever judgements by an international court on the crime of genocide, the Council forwarded a list of 18 candidates to the General Assembly by unanimously adopting resolution 1200 (1998).
Concerned about the conflict's political, humanitarian and security implications for the region, and its effect on the civilian populations there, the Council on 26 June demanded that Eritrea and Ethiopia immediately refrain from further use of force. By resolution 1177 (1998), it welcomed official statements by the two Governments that they shared the goal of demarcating their common border on the basis of a mutually agreeable and binding arrangement, taking into account the Charter of the OAU, colonial treaties, and international law applicable to such treaties. It did so while affirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and noting the strong traditional ties between the two countries.
The Council also called upon the parties to avoid aggravating tensions and to take steps to build confidence by measures, including guaranteeing the rights of each other's nationals. The Secretary-General was requested to make available his good offices in support of a peaceful resolution of the conflict, and also to provide technical support to the parties to assist in the eventual demarcation of the common border.
On 21 December, in the second of two meetings held in 1998 on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, the Council called for an urgent establishment of a government of national unity in the country and the holding of general and presidential elections no later than the end of March 1999. Adopting resolution 1216 (1998), the Council called upon the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta, led by the country's former army commander, to implement fully all the provisions of agreements, including a ceasefire, and the immediate opening of the airport and seaport in Bissau. The Council called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops and the deployment of an interposition force of ECOMOG and asked the Secretary-General to make recommendations on a possible United Nations role in the process of peace and reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau, including the early establishment of a liaison between the United Nations and ECOMOG.
In a previous meeting, held on 6 November, the Security Council welcomed the agreement reached on 1 November in Abuja between the Government of Guinea- Bissau and the Self-Proclaimed Military Junta as a positive step towards national reconciliation and lasting peace. In a statement issued at the
- 15 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
meeting, it called on the two parties to respect fully their obligations under that Agreement and the Praia Agreement of 26 August.
The Abuja Agreement was concluded during the twenty-first Summit of the Authority of the Heads of State of ECOWAS. The two parties, reaffirming the ceasefire agreement signed in Praia on 26 August, agreed to the withdrawal of foreign troops; the deployment of an ECOWAS interposition force, which would guarantee security along the Guinea-Bissau/Senegal border; the opening of the international airport and seaport in Bissau; the establishment of a Government of National Unity; and general and presidential elections to be observed by ECOWAS, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries and the international community. Western Sahara
On 17 December, by resolution 1215 (1998), the Council again extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 January 1999, to allow for further consultations on the Secretary-General's package of proposals intended to move forward implementation of the Settlement Plan, which, among other things, provides for the organization and the conduct of a referendum under the auspices of the United Nations, in cooperation with the OAU.
The MINURSO was established in 1991 to assist in implementing a peace plan proposed in 1988 by the United Nations and the OAU, which included the holding of the referendum, allowing the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration with Morocco. Operating on the basis of the original timetable agreed to by the Government of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y del Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO), the referendum will be held within one year from the resumption of the identification process. In 1997, the parties reached agreements that opened the way for the holding of the referendum.
The key provisions of the Secretary-General's package include: initiation of the appeals process for already identified applicants at the same time as the identification of applicants from certain tribal groupings wishing to present themselves individually; formalization of the presences of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the territory; and a revised schedule, under which the transitional period would start in June/July 1999 and the referendum would be held in December 1999.
Also by the 17 December resolution, the Council called upon the parties and interested States to sign the proposed refugee repatriation protocol with the UNHCR. It urged Morocco to formalize the presence of the UNHCR in Western Sahara and requested both parties to enable the UNHCR to prepare for the repatriation of Saharan refugees eligible to vote, and their immediate families, according to the Settlement Plan. It also again urged Morocco to promptly sign a status-of-forces agreement with the Secretary-General.
- 16 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
The Council first dealt with the question of Western Sahara during the year in January, when, by resolution 1148 (1998), it approved the deployment of the engineering unit for demining activities and additional administrative staff to support the deployment of military personnel for MINURSO. It expressed its intention to consider positively the Secretary-General's request for additional military and civilian police assets for MINURSO as soon as the identification process reached a stage which made the deployment essential. It called on both parties to cooperate with the Identification Commission established pursuant to the Settlement Plan so that the identification process could be completed in a timely fashion according to that Plan and agreements between the parties for its implementation.
In April, by resolution 1163 (1998), the Council extended MINURSO's mandate until 20 July, so it could proceed with its identification tasks, with the aim of completing the process. It called upon the Government of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO to cooperate with the United Nations, the Secretary- General's Special Representative and the Identification Commission to complete the identification of voters phase of the Settlement Plan and the agreements reached for its implementation.
The mandate of MINURSO was again extended on 20 July, by resolution 1185 (1998), this time until 21 September 1998, to allow it to proceed with its identification tasks. On that occasion, the Council noted with satisfaction the expressed readiness of the Moroccan Government to cooperate with the UNHCR to formalize its presence in Western Sahara, according to the Settlement Plan.
On 18 September, by resolution 1198 (1998), the Council extended MINURSO's mandate until 31 October 1998 to permit the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy to engage in consultations with the Government of Morocco and the POLISARIO to seek a solution to those issues bearing on the implementation of the Settlement Plan.
On 30 October, the Council extended MINURSO's mandate until 17 December. By resolution 1204 (1998), the Council also called on the Government of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO to agree by mid-November to measures, proposed by the Secretary-General, to allow positive consideration of further stages of the settlement process, including an outline of the next stages of the Settlement Plan.
Secretary-General's Report on Africa African leaders, the international community and the United Nations had failed the peoples of Africa "by not adequately addressing the causes of conflict; by not doing enough to ensure peace; and by our repeated inability to create the conditions for sustainable development", Secretary-General Kofi Annan states in his report on "The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa" that was before the Security Council in April.
- 17 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Calling for honesty, political will and action, the report cites elements causing conflict in Africa, including crippling debt and the legacy of cold war rivalries. Those profiting from chaos -- such as international arms merchants and the protagonists themselves -- were often interested in prolonging conflict, the Secretary-General stated. The report had been requested by the Council at a ministerial meeting on promoting peace in Africa, held in September 1997.
During a day-long debate on 24 April 1998, 52 speakers addressed the Council on Africa's challenges and potential. Speaking for the OAU, Zimbabwe's representative said the seed of democracy could not thrive in the soil of mass poverty, illiteracy, hunger and disease. He appealed to the international community to support the continent's own efforts. The United States representative said Africa needed new foreign investment and the improved infrastructure that came with economic growth. Cuba's representative said the debt owed to the continent had not been paid, attributing primary responsibility for this with those countries that had, for years, benefited from Africa's resources and the work of its men and women.
A series of actions stemming from deliberations on the report followed.
At the end of May, the Council established, by resolution 1170 (1998), an ad hoc working group to review the recommendations in the report, prepare a framework for implementing those recommendations and submit, by September, proposals for its consideration. The Council also expressed its intention to convene at the ministerial level on a biennial basis to assess progress in promoting peace and security in Africa.
On 16 September, the Council adopted resolution 1196 (1998), in which it encouraged Member States to consider adopting legislation making the violation of arms embargoes established by the Council a criminal offense. It encouraged the Chairmen of its committees charged with monitoring those embargoes in Africa to broaden the exchange of information with regional groups and other entities.
A presidential statement from the same meeting encouraged increased cooperation in the field of peacekeeping among Member States, the United Nations, the OAU and subregional organizations in Africa. It also encouraged all States and organizations concerned to work with African States, in particular, on the basis of African initiatives and proposals.
Two days later, the Council urged the Secretary-General to assist in establishing an early-warning system in the OAU and in strengthening that body's conflict-management centre. By resolution 1197 (1998), it urged him to help establish a "council of elders" within the ECOWAS Mechanism for the Prevention, Management, Resolution of Conflict, Peacekeeping and Security to facilitate mediation efforts.
- 18 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
On 24 September, the Council met at the foreign minister level to assess progress in achieving peace and security in Africa. In a presidential statement, it called on African States and all parties concerned to demonstrate political will to settle their disputes by peaceful, rather than military, means. It encouraged the ad hoc working group to make further concrete recommendations on matters, including those stemming from the illicit arms flow and the question of maintaining the security and neutrality of refugee camps.
In November, the Council adopted two resolutions: one addressing the status and treatment of refugees, and the other on the illicit arms flow. By resolution 1208 (1998), the Council supported United Nations Stand-by Arrangements of military and police units and personnel trained for humanitarian operations, which the Organization could draw on to help maintain the security and civilian character of refugee camps and settlements.
In resolution 1209 (1998), it encouraged African States to enact legislation on the domestic possession and use of arms and to implement such laws and to implement import and export controls. Recognizing the importance of commercial and political motives in the illicit arms flow in Africa, the Council encouraged the Secretary-General to explore ways to identify international arms dealers acting in contravention of national legislation or United Nations-imposed arms embargoes.
On 30 November, the Council underlined the increasingly important role of regional arrangements and agencies, and of coalitions of Member States in the maintenance of international peace and security. It issued a statement stressing that such activities should have clear mandates, plans of action, time frames for disengagement, and arrangements for reporting to the Council, and should be guided by the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of all States.
What was happening in today's war zones was beyond imagination, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the Council on 29 September, as it held a second day-long debate (the first was on 21 May 1997) on ways to improve protection for humanitarian assistance for refugees and others in conflict situations.
Terrorized and traumatized by armed violence, millions of civilians were forced to become refugees or internally displaced persons, she said. Landmines were widely used and represented a threat to civilians and humanitarian missions. The use of scorched-earth tactics was not new, but they were being used at an unprecedented level. Humanitarian action was not equipped to stop the slaughter and displacement of so many civilians. Thus, options for the protection of civilians in war zones must be considered.
- 19 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Speakers in the debate deplored the recent increase in attacks on humanitarian workers, and stressed the importance of compliance with international law and the renunciation of methods for reaching political goals through attacking and kidnapping humanitarian personnel. A common theme was that mandates of peacekeeping operations authorized by the Council should contain provisions for the safety of refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as humanitarian aid workers.
The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said organized crime and banditry played a role in today's conflict situations. Bandits and armed groups coveted the often considerable and highly visible material deployed by humanitarian organizations. They also knew thatm, most of the time, those items were not protected and likely no action would be taken if items were stolen. Humanitarian organizations were simply considered easy targets. The abduction of expatriates for money was a new and growing dimension of banditry. That danger further increased when the media reported how much the abductors had received in ransom. Making civilians the main target of armed hostilities was an integral part of political and military strategies of today.
Through a presidential statement on the subject, the Council condemned use of force against refugees and other civilians, in violation of the relevant rules of international law. The Council also condemned all attacks or use of force against United Nations and other personnel associated with United Nations operations, as well as personnel of humanitarian organizations.
On 10 November, under an innovative format, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mrs. Ogata, briefed the Council in an open meeting. She then addressed questions raised by Council members on a wide range of issues, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees during conflicts.
She told the Council that the safety and security of humanitarian workers and the people they protected could only be guaranteed by broader political efforts. The High Commissioner also stressed that there must be a more concrete focus on the relation between security problems and humanitarian situations. In the past, the UNHCR and its partners had faced intractable situations alone; she did not want that to happen again. Mechanisms must be established with well-defined activation procedures, as predictability was crucial for any effective security mechanism. The number and intensity of conflicts was increasing, forcing more and more civilians to flee, and that slowed and sometimes blocked solutions. The increasingly blurred line between war and peace -- and the need to reach out to victims of forced displacement across those lines -- made the protection of refugees and returnees more complex than ever.
- 20 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Children in Armed Conflict
On 29 June, the Council held its first-ever meeting on the subject of children and armed conflict.
Olara A. Otunnu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, told the Council that 2 million children had been killed in the past decade in armed conflicts, 12 million had become homeless, and countless others suffered psychological trauma. He stressed that concrete initiatives should be undertaken to prevent or mitigate their sufferings.
During the day-long debate, a number of speakers said demobilization of child soldiers must be ensured and action taken to promote their physical and psychological recovery and social integration. Others said crimes against children should be brought under the jurisdiction of the subsequently established International Criminal Court.
The representative of Mozambique said the immediate task before his Government and the entire Mozambican society in the post-conflict period had been to identify, rehabilitate and integrate traumatized children who fell victim of the war in the country. Considerable progress had been achieved in that effort, but the existence of landmines continued to be a major impediment for the smooth resettlement of population and the development of productive activities. Liberia's representative recalled the use of child soldiers in the Liberian civil conflict. United Nations estimates showed that some 15,000 to 20,000 children directly participated in violent acts, were forced to kill or maim, were exposed to fighting and were themselves brutally victimized. Some fought with factions as a means of survival. One of the many challenging problems facing governments emerging from conflict situations was demobilization of combatants. Regrettably, mobilization programmes were most inadequate and had failed to sufficiently address the needs of child soldiers, and that had caused many of them to return to fighting.
In a presidential statement on the subject, the Council condemned the targeting of children in armed conflicts and called upon parties concerned to strictly comply with their obligations under international law, in particular under the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols, as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It expressed its intention to pay serious attention to the situation of children affected by armed conflicts and to maintain contact, as appropriate, with the Special Representative.
Following a debate on "maintenance of peace and security and post- conflict peace-building" -- which started on 16 December and, after a
- 21 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
suspension due to the bombing of Iraq, resumed on 23 December -- the Council, on 29 December, issued a statement saying that the mandates of peacekeeping operations could include activities for post-conflict peace-building. The Secretary-General was called upon to explore the possibility of establishing post-conflict peace-building structures as part of United Nations efforts to ensure a smooth transition to lasting peace.
During the debate, India's representative said the events leading to the attack on Iraq had also illustrated that the personalities and actions of those involved in post-conflict peace-building were crucial to success. By and large, the international community had been served well by international civil servants responsible for peace-building, but exceptions to that showed how sensitive a charge it was to carry out those responsibilities that had a critical bearing on building peace in regions of conflict.
Mongolia's representative said that with the increase of interdependence of States and of globalization, the non-traditional sources of threats to peace and security were also increasing. Consequently, the socio-economic root causes to many conflicts should also be properly addressed. Without it, no peace could be stable or durable.
Third world conflicts had their roots in poverty, hunger and ignorance, and in the lack of accountability in the use of political power, Bangladesh's representative said, stressing that those root causes must be addressed. The maintenance of international peace and security depended on favourable conditions for durable peace, he stated.
Afghanistan Hostilities continued in Afghanistan throughout 1998 between the Taliban and the five-party Northern Alliance, while the humanitarian situation in the country, particularly with regard to women and girls, worsened. The Council deliberated on the matter through three presidential statements, two resolutions and one day-long debate.
On 6 April, in a presidential statement, the Council urged all Afghan parties to agree immediately on a ceasefire and engage without preconditions in a political dialogue aimed at national reconciliation and the formation of a broad-based fully representative government. It warned the parties that the resumption of large-scale fighting would seriously undermine the attempts of the international community to assist them in finding a political solution to the conflict and urged them to live up to their declared desire for it.
On 14 July, the Council expressed grave concern at the continuing conflict and its threat to regional stability. Deploring the breakdown of intra-Afghan talks held in Islamabad and the unabated outside military support to the warring factions in Afghanistan, the Council called upon the parties to return without delay and preconditions to the negotiating table. It also
- 22 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
reiterated its call to all States, particularly those in the region, to cease providing military support immediately.
Less than a month later, the Council condemned the killing of two Afghan staff members of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UNHCR in Jalalabad. By the same presidential statement, in view of the worsening humanitarian situation in the country, the Council also deplored measures taken by the Taliban making it impossible for nearly all international humanitarian organizations to continue their work in Kabul. It called upon all Afghan parties, and, in particular, the Taliban, to take the necessary steps to secure an uninterrupted supply of humanitarian aid and to not impede the activities of the United Nations humanitarian agencies and international humanitarian organizations.
On 28 August, the Council held a day-long meeting on the situation in Afghanistan.
The representative of Pakistan said no other country had suffered more from the conflict in Afghanistan than his own. Pakistan continued to host more than 1.5 million refugees and stood almost single-handed in looking after them. Pakistan had also been the victim of terrorism, drug trafficking and arms smuggling as a result of the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan's dream was to see peace established without any further bloodshed. Pakistan was in favour of a peaceful and negotiated settlement. It had been the only country to deal with all parties to the conflict.
The representative of Afghanistan said the international community no longer held ambiguity of any kind regarding the situation in Afghanistan, particularly in the wake of recent developments, which had drawn attention to the manifest military involvement of Pakistan in Afghanistan. It came as no surprise that Pakistan continued to preach to the international community to accord recognition to its mercenaries, the Taliban in Afghanistan. Only an immediate halt to the Pakistani interventions in Afghanistan and the establishment of a broad-based, fully representative government in the country would lead to an early return of lasting peace and stability in the country.
During that meeting, the Council adopted resolution 1193 (1998), condemning the attacks carried out on United Nations personnel, and calling on the Taliban to investigate those heinous crimes. It demanded that all Afghan factions, in particular the Taliban, do everything possible to assure the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and other international and humanitarian personnel.
On 15 September, the Council condemned the murder of Iranian diplomats in Afghanistan by Taliban combatants and demanded the release of other detained Iranians and their safe and dignified passage out of the country without further delay. It said the crime was a flagrant violation of international
- 23 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
law and should be fully investigated with the participation of the United Nations with a view to prosecuting those responsible.
On 8 December, in view of the deepening humanitarian crisis in the country, the Council adopted resolution 1214 (1998), supporting the Secretary- General's proposal to establish a civil affairs unit in the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) to promote respect for minimum humanitarian standards and deter massive and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
In addition, condemning the Taliban's capture of the Iranian Consulate General and the murder of Iranian diplomats and a journalist in Mazar-i- Sharif, the Council stressed that those acts were flagrant violations of international law. The Secretary-General was encouraged to dispatch a mission to Afghanistan to investigate reports of grave breaches of international humanitarian law, particularly mass killings and mass graves of prisoners of war and civilians, and the destruction of religious sites.
In 1998, the tense situation in Kosovo, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, exploded into open conflict, and the matter was considered by four meetings of the Council.
On 31 March, the Council decided to ban the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related matériel of all types, including weapons and munitions, military vehicles and equipment and spare parts for them. It also decided that States should prevent arming and training for terrorist activities there.
In adopting resolution 1160 (1998), by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), the Council underlined that the way to defeat violence and terrorism in Kosovo was for the authorities in Belgrade to offer the Kosovar Albanian community a genuine political process. In that connection, the Council urgently called upon the authorities in Belgrade and the leaders of that community to enter without preconditions into a meaningful dialogue on political status issues. It also urged the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to begin gathering information relating to the violence in Kosovo that might fall within its jurisdiction. The Council also decided to establish a Committee, consisting of all of its members, to carry out various functions relating to the arms embargo.
On 24 August, following intensified fighting between the two parties, the Council met again on Kosovo, this time calling for an immediate ceasefire and emphasizing the need for the achievement of a political solution to the conflict by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the
- 24 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Kosovo Albanians. In a presidential statement, the Council urged the two sides to enter immediately into a meaningful dialogue, which would lead to an end to the violence and a negotiated political solution to the issue. In that context, it supported the efforts of the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States), including its initiatives to engage the two parties in discussions on the future status of Kosovo. The Council reiterated the importance of the implementation of resolution 1160 and said that, given the increasing numbers of displaced persons, coupled with the approaching winter, the situation in the province had the potential to become a greater humanitarian disaster. It affirmed the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes, and, in particular, emphasized the importance of unhindered and continuous access of humanitarian organizations to the affected population.
In light of continued intense fighting, the outpour of refugees from Kosovo and what it called the excessive and indiscriminate use of force by Serbian security forces and the Yugoslav Army, the Council met on 23 September to again demand that all parties, groups and individuals immediately cease hostilities and maintain a ceasefire in Kosovo. It took that action through its adoption of resolution 1199 (1998), by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China). The Council also demanded that the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanian leadership take immediate steps to improve the humanitarian situation and to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe. The Council demanded further that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia implement immediately the several measures towards achieving a political solution, including: cease all action by the security forces affecting the civilian population and order the withdrawal of those security units; and make rapid progress to a clear timetable with the aim of agreeing to confidence-building measures and finding a political solution to the problem of Kosovo. The Council insisted that the Kosovo Albanian leadership condemn all terrorist action.
When the Council met on 24 October, it had before it the Secretary- General's update report on the situation in the province, in which he stated, among other things, that from early September to early October, the international community had witnessed appalling atrocities in Kosovo, reminiscent of the recent past elsewhere in the Balkans. The Secretary-General recommended 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 needed to be created that would enable refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes, confident that they would not face harassment or worse. It was 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.
- 25 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Also before the Council was a 22 October letter from the United States containing an agreement between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, providing for NATO air surveillance to verify compliance by all parties with the provisions of resolution 1199 (1998). Contained in a 16 October letter to the Council from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was a description of an OSCE Mission which would consist of 2,000 unarmed personnel from OSCE member States deployed to verify compliance by all parties in Kosovo with resolution 1199 (1998) and to report instances of progress and/or non-compliance to the OSCE, the Security Council and to authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Having considered those documents and other pertinent information, the Council adopted resolution 1203 (1998) -- by a vote of 13 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (China, Russian Federation) -- demanding that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cooperate fully with both the OSCE and NATO verification missions to be established in and over Kosovo, respectively. The Council also again demanded that the parties involved comply with the relevant resolutions.
The United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) continued to work with international actors in 1998 to implement the civilian aspects of the 1995 Dayton General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Stabilization Force (SFOR) continued to be a key partner.
Consisting of troops led by NATO, which the Council had authorized Member States to establish in 1996, the SFOR ensures implementation of the military aspects of the peace plan and provides security arrangements that allow the unarmed International Police Task Force (IPTF) to carry out its mandate. The IPTF was created, as part of UNMIBH, at the end of 1995 to monitor and provide advice and training regarding law enforcement, and otherwise facilitate implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton Agreement.
In June 1998, the Council extended UNMIBH's mandate and the SFOR's authorization for one year, and decided that the IPTF would continue its tasks, by adopting resolution 1174 (1998).
One month earlier, it authorized 30 more IPTF monitors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to train local police in specialized areas, emphasizing the importance of training regarding corruption, organized crime and drug control. Also by resolution 1168 (1998), the Council agreed to consider an UNMIBH-led court monitoring programme as part of an overall programme of legal reform. It did so, acknowledging that police reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina was closely linked to judicial reform, and that judicial reform was a priority for further progress in the country, as the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina had stressed in a recent report.
- 26 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
In the middle of July, the Council established the court-monitoring programme. According to resolution 1184 (1998), this was part of an overall programme of legal reform outlined by the Office of the High Representative. The Council asked authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cooperate fully with the court monitoring programme and to instruct their respective responsible officials to provide their full support.
Also in 1998, the Council took up the matter of the settlement of the disputed portion of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line on the frontier of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Brcko area. Under the Dayton accords, both Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had agreed to a binding arbitration by an international tribunal to settle the dispute over control of Brcko. On 15 March, the Arbitral Tribunal on the dispute over the inter-entity boundary in the Brcko area decided that an international supervisory regime there shall continue with the same powers and responsibilities pending final arbitration at the end of 1998. The regime was established by the Tribunal in February 1997.
Four days after the Tribunal's decision, the Council issued a statement in which it called on the parties to the peace agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement the 15 March "Supplemental Award" without delay. Under the Dayton accords, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had agreed to binding arbitration by an international tribunal to settle the dispute over the Inter-Entity Boundary Line on the frontier of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Brcko area.
Problems related to the reintegration of ethnic groups in Croatia -- particularly in the eastern section where the Danube river creates the border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- were the subject of four presidential statements in 1998. The Council repeatedly called on the Government of Croatia to protect the rights and safety of persons of all groups and to resolve property issues and other problems that hindered the return of refugees and displaced persons and led to the emigration of residents.
In February, the Council called on Croatia to intensify efforts to promote full reintegration of the Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium, and, in particular, to resolve property issues and other problems hindering the return of refugees and displaced persons. It welcomed the successful completion of the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES). The UNTAES, which ended in January 1998, had been charged with overseeing the two-year transition period during which the ethnically mixed Danube region would be peacefully reintegrated into Croatia.
One month later, the Council expressed concern about increasing incidents of harassment and intimidation of the local Serb community and at the Government's failure to apply the process of national reconciliation
- 27 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
locally. The "worrying situation" cast doubt on the Republic's commitment to include ethnic Serbs and persons from other minorities as equal members of Croatian society. The Council called on the Government to reaffirm its commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the Basic Agreement on the Region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium and other international agreements.
At the beginning of July, the Council called on Croatia to improve police response to ethnically related incidents, evictions and cases of intimidation and to take steps to strengthen public confidence in the police. It was gravely concerned that large numbers of Serb residents and displaced persons had emigrated from Croatia since late 1996 because of security incidents, the dire economic situation and discriminatory legislation. It called for implementation of the Government's return programme, including the abolition of discriminatory property laws and the establishment of mechanisms to allow owners to recover their property.
By November, deeply concerned at the continuing departures, the Council again called on Croatia to address the perceived lack of security and to remedy problems preventing full implementation of the return programme. The Government should strive to enhance public confidence in the police and recommit itself to the process of reconciliation between ethnic groups. The OSCE, whose police monitors took over from the United Nations Police Support Group, received the Council's full support.
Regarding the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Council in July extended the mandate of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) until 28 February 1999 and authorized increasing its troop strength up to 1,050. By resolution 1186 (1998), UNPREDEP would continue to deter threats and prevent clashes, and would report to the Secretary-General on developments which could threaten the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, including illicit arms flows and other activities which the Council had prohibited by its resolution 1160 (1998). The extension altered the Council's earlier plan to continue the Force only through 31 August 1998.
In action on the Prevlaka peninsula, the Council authorized the 28 military observers of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) to continue monitoring its demilitarization through 15 January 1999, acting by resolutions 1147 (1998) and 1183 (1998). It called on the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to cease violating the demilitarization regime. Also, it urged the parties to abide by their mutual commitments and implement the 1996 Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
On 13 May, the Council decided to establish a third Trial Chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. It took that action -- resolution 1166 (1998) -- based on a recommendation of the Tribunal's
- 28 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
President, Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, contained in a 5 May letter to the Secretary- General, citing a recent threefold increase (from 10 to 29) in the number of accused persons on custody. As the additional Chamber necessitated the election of three additional Judges, the Council, on 27 August, forwarded the names of nine candidates to the General Assembly. Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco), David Anthony Hunt (Australia) and Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica) were subsequently elected.
In other action related to the Tribunal, the Council condemned the failure of the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to execute arrest warrants issued by the Tribunal against three men. The Tribunal had indicted the accused individuals on 7 November 1995 for the murder of 260 unarmed men following the fall of the city of Vukovar in November 1991. In adopting resolution 1207 (1998) on 17 November, the Council demanded the immediate and unconditional execution of the arrest warrants, including the transfer to the Tribunal's custody of those individuals, and affirmed that a State may not invoke provisions of its domestic law as justification for its failure to perform binding obligations under international law.
Israel's decision on 21 June 1998 to broaden the jurisdiction and planning boundaries of Jerusalem led to two meetings on the situation in the occupied Arab territories.
The Council issued a presidential statement on 13 July in which it described that decision as a serious and damaging development and called on Israel not to proceed with it or take any other steps which would prejudice the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. It supported the efforts of the United States to break the stalemate in the peace process, and called upon the parties to respond positively to those steps. Noting that the Palestinian side had already given agreement in principle to the United States proposal, it expressed the hope that permanent status negotiations could resume and progress be made towards the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
At a 30 June debate on the situation in the occupied Arab territories, a number of speakers called on Israel to rescind its decision to expand the boundaries of the holy city and cease its expansionist policies. The Observer for Palestine said he hoped the Council would take measures to prevent Israel from taking any further illegal actions in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories. Israel's representative said the "umbrella municipality" was merely a mechanism to coordinate services -- such as public works, sanitation and education -- between Jerusalem and the surrounding communities. Terrorism and violence were the greatest problems facing Jerusalem, and they did not originate in Israel's efforts to preserve the city, he stressed.
- 29 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
The Council again extended the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Syrian Golan, as it has done for 24 years. Resolutions 1169 (1998) of 27 May and 1211 (1998) of 25 November will bring UNDOF through 31 May 1999. The Force was created in 1974 to maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria, supervise the disengagement of the two countries' forces, and supervise the areas of separation and limitation, as provided in the Agreement on Disengagement of 31 May 1974.
The Council reiterated its call for implementation of resolution 338 (1973), by which it had called for a ceasefire, the termination of military activity and the immediate implementation of resolution 242 (1967). In that text, the Council called for a just and lasting peace, including the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in 1967, and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area.
Twenty years after it was first established -- initially with a six- month mandate -- the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was extended until 31 July 1999, by Council resolution 1151 (1998) of 30 January. It was subsequently extended until 31 January 1999, by Council resolution 1188 (1998).
In its January meeting, the Council also issued a statement reiterating its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries. It also supported the Lebanese Government's efforts to consolidate peace, national unity and security in the country while successfully carrying out the reconstruction process.
The Council stressed the urgent need for full implementation of resolution 425 (1978), which calls for, among other measures, the immediate withdraw of Israeli forces from all Lebanese territory. It expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life and noted the high level of UNIFIL casualties and urged all parties to exercise restraint.
The UNIFIL is mandated to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, and assist the Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. While still prevented from implementing its mandate, the Force contributes to the stability and protection of the local population.
The Council met twice on the question of Cyprus during 1998, each time voting to extend the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) -- established in 1964 -- for a further six months.
- 30 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
At its 29 June meeting, in addition to extending the mission's mandate until 31 December, the Council called on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides to avoid any actions which might increase tension, including further expansion of military forces and armaments. Also by resolution 1178 (1998), the Council reiterated its grave concern at the continuing excessive and increasing levels of military forces and armament on Cyprus and the rate at which they were being expanded, upgraded and modernized, including by the introduction of sophisticated weaponry. Adopting resolution 1179 (1998) at the same meeting, the Council stressed its support for the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and the importance of working with him towards an overall comprehensive settlement.
The Council next met on the question of Cyprus on 22 December. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General on UNFICYP, stating that although the situation along the ceasefire lines had remained generally calm during the previous six months, the situation in Cyprus was not static, and the continued upgrading of military equipment and infrastructure gave cause for concern. Following the Secretary-General's recommendation that UNFICYP's continued presence on the island was indispensable to the maintenance of the ceasefire between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the Council adopted resolution 1217 (1998) extending the Force's mandate for a further period of six months, until 30 June 1999.
By the terms of a second resolution -- 1218 (1998) -- adopted at the same meeting, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General's initiative announced on 30 September within the framework of his good offices mission, with the goal of reducing tensions and promoting progress towards a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus. It requested the Secretary-General, building on the serious engagement already demonstrated by the two sides, to continue to make progress towards those two objectives, on the basis of relevant Council resolutions.
The year 1998 saw a deterioration of the situation in Tajikistan and the murder of four United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) personnel.
In a presidential statement on 24 February, the Council called upon the Government and the United Tajik Opposition to intensify their efforts to fully implement the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord, signed on 27 June 1997. It encouraged the Commission on National Reconciliation to continue its efforts to institute a broad dialogue among the various political forces. Reiterating its concern about the precarious security situation in the country, the Council reminded the parties that the international community's ability to continue to assist in the implementation of the General Agreement, as well as in humanitarian and rehabilitation programmes, was linked to improvements in security conditions.
- 31 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
On 14 May, the Council extended the mandate of UNMOT for another six months, until 15 November. By resolution 1167 (1998), it condemned renewed fighting resulting from attacks initiated by local Tajik Opposition commanders, and called on all concerned to refrain from acts of violence. The parties were also called upon to intensify efforts to bring into operation, as soon as possible, a joint unit to provide security for UNMOT personnel.
In a 21 July statement, Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned in the strongest terms the murder by unknown forces of four UNMOT personnel who had been out on a routine and authorized patrol. Noting that UNMOT personnel are unarmed and that respect for their inviolability is fundamental for their functioning in a dangerous environment like Tajikistan, the Secretary-General called upon the two parties to bring those involved in the crime to justice.
On 12 November, strongly condemning the murders and expressing deep concern at the insufficient progress in establishing all the relevant facts, the Council, through resolution 1206 (1998), extended UNMOT's mandate for a further six months until 15 May 1999. Also by that action, it strongly condemned recent fighting in the Leninabad area initiated by forces trying to hinder the peace process in Tajikistan and called on all concerned to refrain from the use of force.
Security Council efforts to contribute to a settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, continued throughout 1998, and security on United Nations and other international personnel there was also a major concern.
In January, the Council expressed deep concern that no significant progress had been made on key issues involved. By resolution 1150 (1998), it extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 July, subject to review in case of changes in the mandate of the peacekeeping forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It also commended the parties for the constructive approach shown at the Geneva meeting between the Georgian and Abkhaz sides on 17 to 19 November 1997 and welcomed the establishment and the first meetings of the Coordinating Council, to implement the Concluding Statement adopted at the Geneva meeting.
With the resumption of hostilities in May, the Council called for the Secretary-General to consult the two sides on establishing a self-protection unit for the unarmed military observers of UNOMIG. Through a presidential statement, the Council called on all parties to the conflict to take all measures to improve the security situation.
In July, deeply concerned at the tense and confrontational situation in Georgia's Zugdidi and Gali regions, the Council extended UNOMIG's mandate until 31 January 1999, by resolution 1187 (1998). Deep concern was also expressed at the significant numbers of refugees resulting from the hostilities, the extremely difficult humanitarian situation and the negative impact that those developments had on international humanitarian efforts.
- 32 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
While welcoming a further meeting of the parties held in Geneva from 23 to 25 July, the Council called upon them to continue and increase their active engagement in the process initiated by the Secretary-General, reiterated that the primary responsibility for achieving peace rested upon the parties themselves. At the meeting, Georgia's Foreign Minister said serious questions had been raised about the peace process to resolve the Georgian/Abkhaz conflict, with a quarter of a million refugees and displaced persons unable to return to their homes and the resumption of violence in May.
On 25 November, by a presidential statement, the Council approved a proposal by the Secretary-General to increase the number of lightly armed international and local security personnel to help protect UNOMIG in the face of deliberate acts of violence against the Mission's personnel. It demanded that the Georgian and Abkhaz sides take measures to stop such acts and ensure that the security environment for all international personnel improved significantly.
On 25 March, in the first of two 1998 meetings on Haiti -- the only situation in the Americas considered by it during the year -- the Council, stressing that the next parliamentary and local elections in the country should be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner, stated that it looked forward to steps taken by Haiti's Government in that regard and urged the international community to be ready to provide electoral assistance as might be requested. It fully supported the Secretary-General's appeal for Haitian authorities and political leaders to resolve the country's political impasse so it could move forward. It also expressed confidence that the activities of the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) would continue to build on the achievements of previous United Nations missions there and further the professional development of the Haitian National Police.
On 28 November 1997, the Council established MIPONUH for a single one-year period to continue -- after the 30 November withdrawal of the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) -- providing international support to the Haitian Government's efforts to professionalize the country's national police force. The Mission is comprised solely of civilian police officers, but the 300 monitors are authorized to carry personal weapons. It also includes a 90-strong special police unit to provide protection for international personnel and property.
In the second meeting on Haiti, on 25 November, the Council extended MIPONUH's mandate until 30 November 1999. In adopting resolution 1212 (1998), by a vote of 13 in favour to none against with 2 abstentions (China, Russian
- 33 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
Federation), the Council said it did not intend to extend MIPONUH's mandate beyond that date and asked the Secretary-General to recommend a viable transition to other forms of international assistance.
The Council adopted resolution 1189 (1998) in response to terrorist attacks in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania on 7 August, which claimed hundreds of innocent lives, injured thousands of others, and caused massive destruction to property. On 13 August, the Council called upon all States and international institutions to cooperate with and support ongoing investigations in Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and the United States to apprehend the perpetrators of the cowardly criminal acts and swiftly bring them to justice.
In a night meeting on 27 August, the Council adopted resolution 1192 (1998) welcoming the initiative for the trial of the two persons charged with the bombing in 1988 of Pan Am flight 103 before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. Sanctions imposed against Libya by resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) would be suspended once the two accused arrived at the Netherlands for trial, and when the Libyan Government satisfied French judicial authorities investigating the 1989 bombing of Union de Transports Aériens (UTA) flight 772. The sanctions against Libya had been the focus of a day-long Council debate in March -- almost six years to the day after they were first imposed. At that meeting, Libya's representative asked that the suspects be treated in the same manner as the United States citizen accused in the Oklahoma City bombing, whose trial had been transferred from the state where the crime was committed.
The Security Council spoke with one voice on the underground nuclear tests conducted in South Asia last spring. Following the nuclear tests by India on 11 and 13 May and by Pakistan on 28 May, the Council in two separate actions strongly deplored the tests and urged both countries to refrain from any further action. The testing was contrary to the de facto moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons and to global nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament efforts, it stated. It also called upon India and Pakistan to avoid any steps or statements that could lead to further instability or impede their bilateral dialogue.
On 22 April, the Security Council welcomed the extension of the truce in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and the permanent ceasefire to the nine-year- old conflict, which was to take effect on 30 April. The Agreement on Peace, Security and Development on Bougainville, known as the Lincoln Agreement, was signed in New Zealand on 23 January by the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Bougainville Transitional Government, the Bougainville Resistance Force, the Bougainville Interim Government, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, and the Bougainville leaders. In a presidential statement, the Council strongly
- 34 - Press Release SC/6626 12 January 1999
supported the Agreement. Noting that it called for the United Nations to play a role in Bougainville, the Council asked the Secretary-General to consider the composition and financial modalities of such involvement. The conflict began with campaigns organized in the late 1980s by local landowners in the copper-rich Central Bougainville mountains, protesting environmental degradation, the level of compensation and royalty payments and disruption of indigenous culture caused by mining operations.
Security Council Membership
The Security Council has 15 members. The permanent five are China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States. The 10 rotating members in 1998 were Bahrain, Brazil, Costa Rica, Gabon, Gambia, Japan, Kenya, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
On 1 January 1999, Costa Rica, Japan, Kenya, Portugal and Sweden will be replaced by Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Netherlands and Namibia.
* *** *