SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PREVLAKA MISSION UNTIL 15 JANUARY 2000

15 July 1999
SC/6701

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PREVLAKA MISSION UNTIL 15 JANUARY 2000

15 July 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6701

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS PREVLAKA MISSION UNTIL 15 JANUARY 2000

19990715 Reiterating its serious concerns about the lack of substantive progress towards a settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka, the Security Council this morning authorized the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula until 15 January 2000.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1252 (1999), the Council reiterated its call upon the parties -- the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia -- to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations- designated zones and to take further steps to reduce tension and to improve safety in the area.

By the text, the Council urged once again that the parties abide by their mutual commitments and implement fully the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia. It stressed, in particular, the urgent need for them to fulfil rapidly and in good faith their commitment to reach a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue in accordance with article 4 of the Agreement.

Article 4 states, in part, that the contracting parties shall solve their dispute through mutual negotiations in the spirit of the United Nations Charter and good neighbourliness. Until agreement is reached, the parties are to respect the existing security regime established through United Nations monitoring.

The Council asked the Secretary-General to report by 15 October with recommendations and options to further develop confidence-building measures between the parties aimed, inter alia, at further facilitating freedom of movement of the civilian population.

The meeting, which began at 11:05 a.m., adjourned at 11:10 a.m.

Draft resolution

The full text of Security Council resolution 1252 (1999), sponsored by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russian Federation, United

Kingdom and the United States, and which, in accordance with the understanding reached in the Council's prior consultations, became a presidential text, reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling all its earlier relevant resolutions, in particular its resolutions 779 (1992) of 6 October 1992, 981 (1995) of 31 March 1995, 1147 (1998) of 13 January 1998, 1183 (1998) of 15 July 1998 and 1222 (1999) of 15 January 1999,

"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 8 July 1999 (S/1999/764) on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP),

"Recalling also the letters to its President, from the Chargé d'Affaires of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 18 June 1999 (S/1999/697) and from the Permanent Representative of Croatia of 25 June 1999 (S/1999/719), concerning the disputed issue of Prevlaka,

"Reaffirming once again its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Croatia within its internationally recognized borders,

"Noting once again the Joint Declaration signed at Geneva on 30 September 1992 by the Presidents of the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular articles 1 and 3, the latter reaffirming their agreement concerning the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula,

"Reiterating its concern that longstanding violations of the demilitarization regime by both parties continue, including the standing presence of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia military personnel and the occasional presence of Croatian military elements in the demilitarized zone, and limitations placed on the free movement of United Nations military observers by both parties,

"Expressing its concern about more recent, additional violations of the demilitarized zone, in particular the presence there of troops of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,

"Noting with satisfaction that the opening of crossing points between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Montenegro) in the demilitarized zones continue to facilitate civilian and commercial traffic in both directions without security incidents and continue to represent a significant confidence-building measure in the normalization of relations between the two parties, and urging the parties to utilize these openings as a basis for further confidence-building measures to achieve the normalization of relations between them,

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"Reiterating its serious concerns about the lack of substantive progress towards a settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in the continuing bilateral negotiations between the parties pursuant to the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 23 August 1996 (S/1996/706, annex), and calling upon the parties to resume discussions,

"Reiterating its call upon the parties urgently to put in place a comprehensive demining programme,

"Commending the role played by UNMOP and noting also that the presence of the United Nations military observers continues to be essential to maintain conditions that are conducive to a negotiated settlement of the disputed issue of Prevlaka,

"1. Authorizes the United Nations military observers to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, in accordance with resolutions 779 (1992) and 981 (1995) and paragraphs 19 and 20 of the report of the Secretary-General of 13 December 1995 (S/1995/1028*), until 15 January 2000;

"2. Reiterates its calls upon the parties to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime in the United Nations-designated zones, to take steps further to reduce tension and to improve safety and security in the area, to cooperate fully with the United Nations military observers and to ensure their safety and full and unrestricted freedom of movement;

"3. Requests the Secretary-General to report by 15 October 1999 with recommendations and options further to develop confidence-building measures between the parties aimed, inter alia, at further facilitating freedom of movement of the civilian population;

"4. Urges once again that the parties abide by their mutual commitments and implement fully the Agreement on Normalization of Relations, and stresses in particular the urgent need for them to fulfil rapidly and in good faith their commitment to reach a negotiated resolution of the disputed issue of Prevlaka in accordance with article 4 of the Agreement;

"5. Requests the parties to continue to report at least bi-monthly to the Secretary-General on the status of their bilateral negotiations;

"6. Requests the United Nations military observers and the multinational stabilization force authorized by the Council in resolution 1088 (1996) of 12 December 1996 and extended by resolution 1247 (1999) of 18 June 1999 to cooperate fully with each other;

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

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Secretary-General's Report

When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) (document S/1999/764), in which he requests a six-month extension of the Mission until 15 January 2000.

In the report, covering the period since 9 April 1999, the Secretary- General observes that the security arrangements originating in the joint declarations signed by the Presidents of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at Geneva on 30 September 1992 -- monitored continually by United Nations military observers for almost seven years -- have kept the area stable and free of armed conflict, despite the consequences of hostilities unfolding elsewhere in the region.

He notes that UNMOP continues to play a key role in the creation of conditions favourable to securing a lasting settlement of the Prevlaka dispute. However, it is disappointing that there has been no substantive progress in talks between the two parties, who alone are responsible for reaching a satisfactory and enduring solution. More than nine months since the first of four rounds of talks was held at Zagreb, the delay in holding a fifth round was understandable while the Yugoslav authorities were preoccupied with other matters. Now, the parties should resume their talks without further delay, he states.

According to the report, UNMOP continues to monitor the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula and of neighbouring areas in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia through vehicle and foot patrols on both sides, except when prevented from doing so by restrictions on movement imposed by one party or the other. During the review period, UNMOP began to implement patrolling procedures with a view to reducing slightly the number of military observers. However, developments in the region have not allowed any such reduction.

The report states that UNMOP's area of responsibility consists of a demilitarized "yellow zone", whose regime prohibits the presence of military personnel and heavy weapons, and a "blue zone" under the exclusive authority of the United Nations until such a time as the parties reach an agreement concerning the area. Violations of both zones persisted during the review period.

A significant violation is the continued presence of Yugoslav Army troops in the northern part of the demilitarized zone, the report says. Owing to long-standing constraints imposed by the Yugoslav authorities on the movement of United Nations military observers -- constraints which were tightened after 24 March 1999 -- UNMOP remains unable to ascertain the exact strength and armament of those units. Since 24 March, heavier weapons have been introduced in the southern part of the demilitarized zone by the Yugoslav

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(Montenegrin) Border Police. Despite the suspension by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of military activity against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, those weapons remain in position.

The report states that Croatia has not completely removed its restrictions on UNMOP patrols in the north-western part of the demilitarized zone. Croatia requires the Mission to provide 24 hours notice before undertaking foot patrols inside the zone. Approximately 25 Croatian Special Police are located at four positions and approximately 10 Yugoslav (Montenegrin) Border Police at two positions inside the zone.

According to the report, NATO military activity in and near Federal Republic of Yugoslavia territory resulted in violations by NATO aircraft of the airspace over both the demilitarized zone and the United Nations- controlled zone. United Nations military observers also reported that, on several occasions, persons in civilian clothes, but identified as military officers from NATO countries, entered the United Nations-controlled zone without authorization by UNMOP.

The Secretary-General notes that both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia continue to indicate their willingness to resolve the Prevlaka dispute bilaterally, pursuant to the Agreement on Normalization of Relations signed at Belgrade on 23 August 1996. While both parties have provided their assessment of the status of negotiations following the fourth round of talks, the initiation of hostilities between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia resulted in further evaluation by the two parties of the prospects for an early settlement of the dispute.

According to the report, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia initially postponed the fifth round of negotiations stating, that it could not continue discussions with Croatia until the NATO military action ended. Since the end of the bombing, Croatia has not invited the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for the fifth round of talks, which should be held at Zagreb. Although the parties have not made substantive progress towards a settlement, both have restated their intention to continue discussions through future meetings of their negotiating teams and through other bilateral contacts.

On UNMOP's financial aspects, the report states that, should the Security Council decide to extend its mandate beyond 15 July 1999, the costs of maintaining UNMOP will be met from within the budget of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH). Although UNMOP is an independent mission, for administrative and budgetary purposes it is treated as part of UNMIBH.

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For information media. Not an official record.