SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN THAT NUMBER OF CONFLICTS CONTINUE DESPITE PEACE AGREEMENTS BY WARRING PARTIES

8 July 1999
SC/6699

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN THAT NUMBER OF CONFLICTS CONTINUE DESPITE PEACE AGREEMENTS BY WARRING PARTIES

8 July 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6699

SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN THAT NUMBER OF CONFLICTS CONTINUE DESPITE PEACE AGREEMENTS BY WARRING PARTIES

19990708 Presidential Statement Addresses Theme of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-Combatants in Peacekeeping Environment

The Security Council this afternoon expressed serious concern that a number of conflicts continued despite the conclusion of peace agreements by the warring parties and the presence of United Nations peacekeeping missions on the ground.

The Council took that position in a statement read out by its President, Hasmy Agam (Malaysia), during its second meeting of the day on the Maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peace-building: Disarmament, demobilization and re-integration of ex-combatants in a peacekeeping environment.

By other terms of that statement, the Council also recognized that a major contributory factor to such conflicts had been the continued availability of large amounts of armaments, in particular small arms and light weapons, to conflicting parties. It emphasized that in order to achieve settlement, parties to the conflict must work towards the successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, including child soldiers whose special needs should be seriously addressed.

By the text, the Council also recognized that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration could not be seen in isolation, but rather as a continuous process which was rooted in and fed into a broader search for peace, stability and development. Demobilization efforts were only possible when there was some level of disarmament and its success could only be achieved when there was effective rehabilitation and re-integration into society of ex-combatants. Disarmament and demobilization must take place in a secure and safe environment which would give ex-combatants the confidence to lay down their arms.

By the terms of the statement, the Council also emphasized that for disarmament, demobilization and re-integration to be successful, there must be political will and a clear commitment by the parties concerned to achieve

peace and stability. At the same time, it was vital that such commitment by the parties be reinforced by political will and consistent, effective and determined support from the international community to guarantee the achievement of sustainable peace and development, including through its contributions of long-term assistance for development and trade. The Council would also remain seized of the matter.

The meeting which began at 5.55 p.m. was adjourned at 6.04 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1999/21, reads as follows:

"The Security Council recalls its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council also recalls the statements made by its successive Presidents in relation to activities of the United Nations in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace- building.

"The Security Council has considered the matter of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in peacekeeping as part of its overall and continuing effort to contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping and peace-building activities in conflict situations around the world.

"The Security Council is seriously concerned that in a number of conflicts, armed fighting among various parties or factions continues despite the conclusion of peace agreements by the warring parties and the presence of United Nations peacekeeping missions on the ground. The Council recognizes that a major contributory factor to such a situation has been the continued availability of large amounts of armaments, in particular small arms and light weapons, to conflicting parties. The Council emphasizes that in order to achieve settlement, parties to a conflict must work towards the successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, including child soldiers whose special needs should be seriously addressed.

"The Security Council recognizes that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration cannot be seen in isolation but rather, as a continuous process which is rooted in and feeds into a broader search for peace, stability and development. Effective disarmament of ex-combatants represents an important indicator of progress towards post-conflict peace-building and normalization of the situation. The demobilization effort is only possible when there is some level of disarmament and that its success could only be realized when there is effective rehabilitation of ex-combatants and their reintegration into society. Disarmament and demobilization must take place in a secure and

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safe environment, which will give ex-combatants the confidence to lay down their arms. Taking into account that the process is closely linked to economic and social issues, the question must be addressed comprehensively so as to facilitate a smooth transition from peacekeeping to peace-building.

"The Security Council emphasizes that for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration to be successful, there must be political will and clear commitment of the parties concerned to achieve peace and stability. At the same time, it is vital that such commitment of the parties should be reinforced by political will and consistent, effective and determined support from the international community to guarantee the achievement of sustainable peace, including through its contributions in terms of long-term assistance for development. Furthermore, the Security Council, bearing in mind the principle of non-interference, and the consent of the parties, stresses the need for the implementation of practical measures to promote the success of the process which, inter alia, may include the following:

"(a) The inclusion, as appropriate, within specific peace agreements and, on a case-by-case basis, within United Nations peacekeeping mandates, of clear terms for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex- combatants, including the safe and timely disposal of arms and ammunitions;

"(b) The establishment of a database of experts on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants by Governments contributing to peacekeeping operations. In this context, training in disarmament and demobilization could be a useful component of national programmes for the preparation of peacekeeping troops;

"(c) The prevention and reduction of the excessive and destabilizing flow, accumulation and illegitimate use of small arms and light weapons. In this context, the relevant Security Council resolutions and existing arms embargoes should be strictly implemented.

"The Security Council is of the view that techniques for executing and coordinating the programmes related to the process of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and the problems associated with it should be given in-depth consideration. It takes note with appreciation the efforts by the Secretary-General, United Nations bodies, Member States and international and regional organizations aimed at developing general principles and practical guidelines for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in a peacekeeping environment.

"The Security Council underlines the need to address this issue on a regular basis, and in this regard, requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council, within a period of six months, a report containing his analysis, his observations and recommendations, in particular those relating to principles and guidelines as well as practices, experiences and lessons

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learned to facilitate its further consideration of the matter. The report should pay special attention to the problems of disarmament and demobilization of child soldiers and their integration into society.

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

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For information media. Not an official record.