CHALLENGE OF CRISES IN AFRICA DOMINATES SECURITY COUNCIL WORK IN 1997
CHALLENGE OF CRISES IN AFRICA DOMINATES SECURITY COUNCIL WORK IN 199719980109
On 25 September 1997, the Security Council held the third ministerial- level meeting convened in its history, providing a high-level forum for discussion of the situation in Africa, in a year when events in that continent were a major focus of its work.
Addressing the meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Foreign Ministers of all 15 Council members that past patterns of international intervention must be replaced by mutual support and trust. True security, he said, was built upon a foundation of sustainable development, and supported by a just and democratic society. He called on the international community to move beyond papers, studies and documents. "Let us not only pledge, but also act, to work better together, with Africa and for Africa", he said, adding he stood ready "to take whatever action the Council may require of me".
Throughout 1997, the Council attempted to address comprehensively the challenges facing all the nations of Africa, helping secure peace within and among African States and through that effort help them achieve sustainable economic and social development. It collaborated frequently with regional and subregional organizations in efforts to resolve conflicts in such countries as Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as it also continued to assist the Angolan parties in consolidating peace and national reconciliation.
During the latter part of 1997, the situation in Iraq became an increasing focus of the Council, which met repeatedly to address the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) -- established to oversee the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -- and to oversee the "oil- for-food" programme, through which Iraqi oil can be sold to purchase humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.
Council activities in the former Yugoslavia continued, with its attention shifting from peacekeeping to peacemaking, as United Nations civilian police were deployed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and civilian police monitors were set to take the place of United Nations military units in Croatia's Danube region. The Council continued to provide the mandate, under
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, to the international military operation in Bosnia. It also authorized the rapid deployment of a temporary international force to provide stability during civil turmoil in Albania, and extended the presence of military observers in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Among other actions in 1997, the Council welcomed progress on the Western Sahara question, addressed the volatile situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, successfully concluded its mission in Guatemala, and completed a year-long transition from an international military presence to a civilian monitoring operation in Haiti.
Failure by the Council to adopt a draft resolution calling upon Israel to refrain from building a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem led to the convening of the tenth emergency session of the General Assembly, which met three times in 1997.
The Council paid special attention to the question of use of force against refugees and other civilians, while addressing the difficulty of providing international military support for humanitarian operations. It also took measures to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel, and established the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to honour the lives of those who had died serving under the United Nations flag.
Following are regional summaries of Council activity in 1997.
Ministerial Meeting on Africa
"The challenges in Africa demand a more comprehensive response", the Security Council stated through its President, United States Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, when it met at the ministerial level on 25 September to consider the situation there. The Council expressed its grave concern at the number and intensity of armed conflicts on the African continent -- conflicts which threatened regional peace, caused massive human dislocation and suffering, perpetuated instability and diverted resources from long-term development.
The Secretary-General was requested to submit a report to the Council, by February 1998, considering the sources of conflict in Africa, providing concrete recommendations on ways to prevent and address those conflicts, and suggesting how to lay the foundation for durable peace and economic growth following their resolution. The Council affirmed its intention to review promptly the recommendations of the Secretary-General with a view to taking steps consistent with its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter.
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Addressing the ministerial meeting, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Salim A. Salim, emphasized the importance of providing the OAU with the logistic and technical assistance needed to enhance its capacity to respond to conflict situations. The current OAU Chairman, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, said Africans wanted their partners to become committed to a new partnership based on sovereign equality and mutual benefit. A politically stable, prosperous and vibrant Africa would better contribute to greater global peace and security, he added.
The Council first voiced its concern at the deteriorating situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, particularly the refugee crisis in the eastern part of the former Zaire, on 7 February. It called for an end to the hostilities and the withdrawal of all external forces, including mercenaries.
The Secretary-General orally briefed the Council on the gravity and complexity of the situation in the region on 8 and 21 January. He also appointed Mohamed Sahnoun as the Joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity (OAU) Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, charged with: promoting peaceful settlements of the various conflicts in the region, with special reference to the situations in eastern Zaire and Burundi; helping preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Zaire; and helping restore that country's national institutions, including the electoral process.
Mr. Sahnoun's mission received the Council's full support. On 18 February, resolution 1097 (1997) endorsed a five-point peace plan for eastern Zaire, as proposed by the Secretary-General and based on the essential tasks entrusted to the Special Representative. The Council called for the immediate cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of external forces, reaffirmation of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zaire and other States of the region, protection and security for all refugees and displaced persons, and rapid and peaceful settlement of the crisis through dialogue.
On 7 March, again expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation in eastern Zaire, the Council, in a presidential statement, welcomed the acceptance of the five-point peace plan by then Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko and called on the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo/Zaire (ADFL), led by Laurent-Desire Kabila, to do the same.
With concern about the refugees in eastern Zaire heightened by reports of human rights violations, the Council, in a presidential statement on 4 April, called on all parties to allow humanitarian organizations' unrestricted access to them. Following reports of massacres and other serious violations
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of human rights, the Council, in another presidential statement on 24 April, called again on the Alliance, "in the strongest possible terms", to ensure unrestricted access by all humanitarian relief agencies for the provision of aid in eastern Zaire, as well as to guarantee the safety of relief workers, refugees and other affected civilians in Alliance-controlled areas.
Following repeated calls for negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict, in April the parties agreed, in principle, to such a meeting. However, events on the ground outpaced peace initiatives. By late May, the Alliance had advanced to Kinshasa and a new government, led by Mr. Kabila, took charge of the now renamed country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On 29 May, the Council issued a statement welcoming the end of fighting and the return of stability to the country. It voiced support for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as "they begin a new period in their history". The Council also called for complete cooperation with the United Nations mission investigating reports of massacres, other atrocities and violations of international humanitarian law in the country. Noting with particular concern reports that refugees in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were being systematically killed, it called for an immediate end to the violence against those refugees.
A second investigative team was established by the Secretary-General in August following an exchange of letters with the Council. After several attempts to begin its work, towards the end of the year the Secretary- General's Investigative Team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was able to deploy to the city of Mbandaka on 7 December. However, out of security concerns it was withdrawn from the city.
As stability returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, factional fighting erupted on 5 June in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, and representatives of central African nations met on 16 June in Libreville, Gabon, in an effort to mediate a settlement to the crisis. Those States, making up the International Mediation Committee, requested the Security Council to authorize the rapid deployment to Brazzaville of an appropriate international force.
In a statement on 13 August, the Council, drawing attention to that request, determined that the conditions set by the Secretary-General for the operation had not been met, namely: the parties complete adherence to a 14 July ceasefire; international control of Brazzaville airport; and commitment to a negotiated settlement covering all political and military aspects of the crisis. The Council expressed particular concern at the plight of civilians caught in the fighting.
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In October, the Government in Brazzaville urgently requested the Council to take "requisite preventive measures" to halt a threat to its sovereignty. In a letter dated 13 October, the Government charged that "a convoy of heavily armed men had entered Congolese territory" from Angola. In addition, in the capital, armed opposition had laid siege to Brazzaville International Airport. On the same date, the Democratic Republic of the Congo also requested an urgent Council meeting referring to intensifying mortar attacks on Kinshasa from Brazzaville.
In a statement issued on 16 October, the Council condemned all external interference in the Republic of the Congo, including the intervention of foreign forces. It called for the immediate withdrawal of all those forces, including mercenaries. Later in the year, in a report dated 21 October, the Secretary-General told the Council that the continued conflict in the Republic of the Congo, especially if the involvement of foreign forces persisted, represented a clear threat to regional peace and security. The United Nations, he said, had a duty to lead both emergency and long-term efforts to ease the suffering of the Congolese people.
In the first of a total of 10 meetings in 1997 to consider the situation in Angola, the Council, in a presidential statement on 30 January, called on the Angolan Government and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) to strictly implement a 23 January Joint Commission agreement and to form a Government of National Unity and Reconciliation without further delay.
The Joint Commission was established under the Lusaka Protocol to monitor the implementation of both the Peace Accords, signed by the Angolan parties in 31 May 1991, and the Protocol itself, which was signed on 20 November 1994. The Commission consists of the Angolan Government and UNITA as members, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as Chairman, and Portugal, Russian Federation and the United States as observers.
In the 30 January statement, the Council took note of aspects of the agreement, including that the two parties had agreed to postpone the inauguration of the National Unity Government beyond 25 January, and UNITA's commitment to ensure that all of its designated members of the future government would be in Luanda on 12 February. The parties were reminded that the international community could only provide assistance if progress was achieved in the peace process. It was within that context that a continued United Nations presence in Angola after the end of the mandate of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) on 28 February would be considered.
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However, when the Council met again on Angola on 27 February, the formation of the National Unity Government had been delayed due to the failure of UNITA to abide by the agreed timetable. Expressing concern about those delays, the Council urged the parties to solve remaining military and other issues and to establish the new government, without further delay. In adopting resolution 1098 (1997), the Council decided to extend UNAVEM III for one month -- until 31 March. It called on the Secretary-General to report on progress in Angola by 20 March, and decided that based on that report, it would consider imposing measures, including trade and travel restrictions, on UNITA personnel.
The Council met again on 21 March to express, in a presidential statement, its full support for the Secretary-General's visit to Angola, which he held from 22 to 25 March, and for his mission to impress upon the Angolan parties the need to establish the unified government without delay.
During his visit, the Secretary-General addressed a meeting of the Joint Commission in Luanda, and reported progress made during his meetings with UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, including his commitment that all UNITA deputies would take their seats in the National Assembly the next day. Characterizing the developments as significant, he called upon the Government and UNITA to proceed to implement the rest of the Lusaka Protocol.
Following a Joint Commission announcement that the Government of National Unity would be installed by 11 April, the Council met on 31 March and extended the mandate of UNAVEM III for an additional two weeks, until 16 April. Further extension was predicated on the status of the installation of the new government. Adopting resolution 1102 (1997), the Council also welcomed the arrival in Luanda, after considerable delay in the implementation of the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol, of the UNITA deputies and future officials of the new government.
On 16 April, at the end of two meetings with statements by 29 speakers, the Council welcomed the inauguration on 11 April of the Government of National Unity and Reconciliation and extended the mandate of UNAVEM III until 30 June, with the understanding that it would begin a transition to an observer mission, focusing on political, police and human rights aspects. The Council had been informed by the Secretary-General that while recent developments in Angola were very encouraging, the international community should remain engaged there until the Lusaka Protocol was fully implemented. The Secretary-General focused on the need for a continued, but reduced, presence of the United Nations in Angola until the end of 1997.
Meeting on 30 June, the day the final UNAVEM mandate expired, the Council established, as of 1 July, the United Nations Observer Mission in Angola (MONUA) to assist the Angolan parties in consolidating peace and
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national reconciliation. Adopting resolution 1118 (1997), it decided that the Observer Mission's initial mandate would extend until 31 October, with the expectation that its work would be completed by 1 February 1998. In addition, it demanded that UNITA provide the Joint Commission with complete information regarding its military forces, armed personnel returning from other countries, and any other armed personnel not yet reported to the United Nations, in order for them to be disarmed and demobilized.
A few weeks later, in a presidential statement on 23 July, the Council expressed deep concern at recent destabilizing actions in Angola, particularly regarding UNITA's failure to comply with its 30 June demands. While expressing concern at UNITA's continued effort to restore its military capabilities, the Council condemned the mistreatment of United Nations and other international personnel in areas under UNITA control. It reaffirmed its readiness to consider imposing sanctions, such as trade measures against UNITA and travel restrictions, unless UNITA took irreversible steps to demilitarize all its forces.
Little more than a month later, on 28 August, acting under Chapter VII, the Council decided that as of 30 September travel restrictions would be placed upon UNITA senior officials and adult members of their families, and its offices would be sealed. That action would be taken unless the Secretary- General informed prior to that date that UNITA had taken concrete and irreversible steps to comply with the Council's demands. Other terms of resolution 1127 (1997), adopted unanimously that day, would prohibit the flight of aircraft by or for UNITA, the supply of aircraft or their components to UNITA, and the insurance, engineering and servicing of UNITA aircraft. States would be required to deny access to their territories to any aircraft leaving or going to UNITA areas.
On 29 September, meeting one day before those restrictions were set to go into effect, the Council, again acting under Chapter VII, postponed their imposition until 30 October. Unanimously adopting resolution 1130 (1997), it reaffirmed its readiness to review the imposition of those measures and to consider the application of additional measures.
A month later, on 29 October, the Council -- after twice permitting grace periods for the imposition of sanctions against UNITA -- allowed travel restrictions to pass into effect the following day. Recognizing the important role of MONUA for the peace process at that critical stage, the Council extended its mandate until 30 January 1998. Adopting resolution 1135 (1997), it reaffirmed its readiness to consider the imposition of additional measures, such as trade and financial sanctions, depending upon UNITA's compliance with Council demands. As it had throughout 1997, the Council again demanded that UNITA comply immediately with its obligations, including providing full cooperation in the normalization of State administration throughout Angola.
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Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Burundi
In Liberia, with the holding of presidential and legislative elections on 19 July, a key element of the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) was fulfilled. In a presidential statement on 30 July, the Council welcomed the goodwill and cooperation shown by the parties in the elections, which provided a strong foundation for the Liberian people to achieve a durable peace, the re-establishment of constitutional government and a return to the rule of law. On 30 September, the Observer Mission, which had been in Liberia since 1993, successfully concluded operations.
When UNOMIL was sent to Liberia, it entered into a unprecedented collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG), under a partnership guided by Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. The United Nations observers joined those who had been deployed in 1990 by the subregional group Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), which had taken the lead in 1990 in efforts to settle a civil war that began in late 1989. The UNOMIL cooperated with ECOMOG in: negotiating agreements that established the foundation of the peace process; creating stability in the period leading up to elections; and overseeing the conduct of free and fair elections.
The Council faced a very different situation in Sierra Leone in 1997. On 25 May, a military junta seized power in that country, overthrowing the democratically elected government. On 27 May, in a presidential statement, the Council called for the immediate restoration of constitutional order there. In two other presidential statements, on 11 July and 6 August, the Council warned that the coup d'etat in Sierra Leone threatened regional peace, security and stability, and welcomed the involvement of ECOWAS in mediation efforts
When the Secretary-General reported to the Council in October that the efforts of ECOWAS had been stalled and the junta had showed no signs of wanting to relinquish power, the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, adopted resolution 1132 (1997) on 8 October, establishing a sanctions regime against Sierra Leone, banning the sale of oil and military supplies. The Council authorized ECOWAS to strictly implement those sanctions, including, where necessary, by halting inward maritime shipping to inspect and verify their cargoes and destinations.
Shortly after the application of Security Council sanctions, junta members met in Conakry with regional governments and signed, on 23 October, a peace agreement, under which the Government of Sierra Leone would be reinstated within six months. In a presidential statement on 14 November, while welcoming the agreement, the Council reinforced the need for all States to continue to strictly abide by the embargo and called attention to the need
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for international humanitarian assistance to countries hosting the growing number of refugees from Sierra Leone.
In a 5 December report to the Council, the Secretary-General stated that he had requested his Special Envoy for Sierra Leone to make arrangements to reopen a small liaison office in that country. He also expressed his intention to dispatch a fact-finding mission to enable him to present to the Council recommendations on the role that could be played by the United Nations in assisting implementation of the Conakry Agreement. In the first week of January, the team left for Sierra Leone.
Again relying on a regional arrangement, on 6 August the Council took action to support regional efforts to restore peace to the Central African Republic, which had been under way since an army rebellion in 1996 had destabilized the country and left large supplies of arms in the hands of former rebels and militiamen. Adopting resolution 1125 (1997) under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Council authorized the Inter-African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB), as well as those States providing logistical support, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of their personnel. The authorization was for an initial period of three months. As part of the mandate, which was extended in November until 6 February 1998, the Council approved MISAB's continued conduct of the operation in a neutral and impartial way.
The efforts of the 800-strong mission of troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal and Togo include supervising the surrender of arms by former mutineers, militia and others unlawfully bearing arms. The Council provided Chapter VII authorization for the operation at the request of the Government of the Central African Republic, so as to place its actions within an appropriate political and legal framework.
Reporting to the Council in December, governments participating in MISAB said the extension of its mandate had given new impetus to the mediation efforts. However, the success of MISAB -- which is funded on a voluntary basis -- depends largely on the international community's contribution to the voluntary trust fund for the Central African Republic, which the Council had authorized the Secretary-General to establish.
In 1997, the Council held just one open meeting on Burundi, on 30 May. In a presidential statement it urged all parties in Burundi to continue pursuing a negotiated settlement of their conflict and refrain from actions that might harm such dialogue.
In December, through an exchange of letters, the Council supported the Secretary-General's proposed new mandate for Mr. Sahnoun as his Special Envoy in Africa, in which he would follow closely developments in Central Africa,
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including the Great Lakes region, support existing peacemaking and peace- building initiatives there, and give special attention to Burundi. The Council also endorsed a new mandate for Berhanu Dinka, as the Secretary- General's Representative and Regional Humanitarian Adviser for the Great Lakes Region.
Security Council involvement in the situation in Somalia, which has spanned the better part of the decade, continued in 1997 with its efforts to support national reconciliation between the leaders of Somali factions. On two occasions, first in February and again in April, the Council urged Somali leaders to cooperate with regional efforts to that end.
On 23 December, following a 10-day meeting of Somali factions in Cairo which concluded on 22 December, the Council, in a presidential statement, welcomed the Somali leaders agreement to adopt a federal system with regional autonomy, as well as their agreement to form a transitional government of national unity. By adopting the Cairo Declaration on Somalia, the leaders also resolved to hold a National Reconciliation Conference on 15 February in the capital of the Somali Bay region, Baidoa. The Council noted with appreciation the decision of the Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) in Nairobi, stressing the need for closer coordination of all efforts for peace in Somalia.
On three occasions during the year -- in January, April and May -- the Council expressed concern about violations on the part of Libya of its sanctions regime, which was imposed in 1992 and prohibits all international flights to and from that country.
In 1997, the Government of Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y del Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO) reached agreements that opened the way for the people of the Western Sahara to hold a referendum allowing them to choose between independence and integration with Morocco.
The agreements resulted from negotiations between the parties facilitated by the Secretary-General's Special Envoy, James Baker III, who was appointed in March to mediate on outstanding issues that had stalled the referendum process. The momentum towards agreement came after both the Council and the Secretary-General questioned the value of continuing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which 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
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referendum. Operating on the basis of the original timetable agreed to by the parties, the referendum will be held within one year from the resumption of the identification process.
As a result of those agreements, on 29 September, by resolution 1131 (1997), the Council extended the mandate of MINURSO until 20 October to prepare for the resumption of voter identification. On 20 October, resolution 1133 (1997) extended MINURSO's mandate until 20 April 1998, so that the Mission might resume the process of identifying voters eligible to participate in the referendum for self-determination, with the aim of finishing the process by 31 May 1998.
During 1997, the Security Council met 12 times on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait. Most of those meetings were on matters relating to the activities of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), established under Council resolution 687 (1991) to oversee the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missile capabilities, as well as related production facilities.
The first meeting was on 13 June, when the Council issued a statement deploring as unacceptable Iraqi interference with helicopter flights operating in support of Special Commission inspection of designated sites. Noting four incidents earlier in June, when Iraqi personnel had endangered UNSCOM helicopters and their crews, as well as persons on the ground, the Council underlined that Iraq must immediately cease all such actions and meet its obligations under relevant resolutions. It also recalled the commitments contained in a 22 June 1996 joint statement by the Special Commission and Iraq, which included immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access by the Special Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to all sites they might wish to inspect in carrying out their mandates.
The following week, on 21 June, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1115 (1997), demanding that Iraq give UNSCOM inspection teams immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access to all sites, equipment, records and persons they wished to inspect or interview in order to fully discharge their mandate. The Council also expressed its firm intention to impose additional measures on Iraqi officials responsible for not complying with those demands, unless it was advised otherwise by the Commission's Executive Chairman in his forthcoming report expected on 11 October.
In his report, the Commission's Executive Chairman, Richard Butler, stated that since the adoption of resolution 1115 there had been three occasions when access to sites designated for inspection by the Commission had been denied by Iraq. In addition, while there had been significant progress
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in accounting for missiles and chemical weapons, such progress had not been achieved in the area of biological weapons. He concluded that proscribed material and documents still remained in Iraq. Also, he said, there was a highly coordinated effort by Iraq to mislead the Commission as to the existence and whereabouts of proscribed material. Of most serious concern was Iraq's increasing failure to allow the Special Commission access to all relevant sites, attempting to define a new category of site -- often of very large areas -- from which the Commission inspectors would be forbidden any access. He urged the Council to demand that Iraq give the Commission full access to sites and persons it needs to verify the Iraqi Government compliance with relevant decisions of the Council.
When the Council met on 23 October, it condemned the repeated refusal of Iraqi authorities to allow access of Special Commission personnel to designated sites. Adopting resolution 1134 (1997) by a vote of 10 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (China, Egypt, France, Kenya, Russian Federation), the Council also expressed its firm intention to restrict the travel of Iraqi officials unless UNSCOM personnel were granted unrestricted access to designated sites and individuals. Such restrictions would obligate all States to deny entry into or transit through their territories of all Iraqi officials and members of the Iraqi armed forces who were responsible for or participated in instances of non-compliance with Council resolutions.
The representative of the Russian Federation, explaining his abstention, called the resolution "unbalanced", since it ignored various substantial elements of the Iraqi fulfilment of obligations. Furthermore, he said, the draft neglected to refer to the IAEA report that Iraq had made significant progress in the nuclear sphere, to the extent that the Iraqi dossier in that area could be closed. While there were deficiencies in Iraq's compliance with the Special Commission, the isolated incidents of the past month did not justify immediate adoption of additional sanctions, he added.
The representative of the United States, however, said that some had suggested that the Council ought to reward Iraq because, in their view, it was cooperating with UNSCOM to a greater degree than it had in the past. Noting deficiencies in Iraqi compliance with international investigations of their biological and chemical weapons programmes, he said that in the area of nuclear weapons "Iraq has lied about its programmes for too long and too recently to settle for anything less than absolute certainty that Iraq's nuclear ambitions have been completely neutralized".
Six days later, on 29 October, the Council was informed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, that as of 1 a.m. the following day, his Government would only cooperate with the Special Commission "provided that no individuals of American nationality shall participate in any activity of the Special Commission inside Iraq". He also said the Special Commission's
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October report to the Council had not been factual or objective, despite progress made by Iraq in destroying its weapons of mass destruction and in establishing a comprehensive monitoring system. As a result, the Council had not lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. The main reasons for that, he said, were "the position of the United States and the role of the other American personnel and other personnel of the Special Commission who implement the American policy".
In a night meeting on the same day, the Council issued a statement condemning the Government of Iraq for its attempt to dictate the terms of its cooperation with the Special Commission. It also warned of the serious consequences of Iraq's failure to comply immediately and fully with the obligations of relevant resolutions.
Meeting again on 12 November -- following several incidents during the intervening weeks in which Iraqi officials had barred UNSCOM officials of United States nationality from inspecting sites -- the Council imposed the travel restrictions outlined in its resolution 1115 and announced its decision to designate a list of individuals to be restricted under that ban. The Council unanimously adopted resolution 1137 (1997) and said the travel ban would be terminated the day after the Commission's Executive Chairman reported Iraq's full cooperation with UNSCOM investigators.
The next day, the Council was informed by the Secretary-General and through the Special Commission of the Iraqi decision to expel United States members of UNSCOM from the country and that American personnel attached to the Special Commission offices in Baghdad had been called upon to leave Iraq immediately via the Baghdad-Amman highway. At a late night meeting on 13 November, the Council, in a presidential statement, condemned Iraq's decision "in the strongest possible terms", and demanded that the decision be immediately and unequivocally revoked, warning of serious consequences if Iraq failed to comply with its obligations under Security Council resolutions.
Meeting on 3 December -- following an emergency session of the Special Commission convened in New York on 21 November -- the Council, in a presidential statement, acknowledged the conclusion of the emergency session report that UNSCOM respected the legitimate national security, sovereignty and dignity concerns of Iraq in the context of the need for full application of its mandate.
The Council met again on 22 December, after receiving the report of the visit of the Commission's Executive Chairman to Baghdad from 12 to 16 December. In a presidential statement, it reiterated that the effectiveness and speed with which the Special Commission would accomplish its responsibilities would be determined by the degree with which the Iraqi Government cooperated in disclosing the full extent and disposition of its
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proscribed programmes and in granting the Commission unimpeded access to all sites, documents, records and individuals.
The Council met three times during the year to review the programme of humanitarian assistance to Iraq known as "oil-for-food", under which $1 billion of Iraqi oil could be sold in a 90-day period to purchase humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people.
The framework for the humanitarian programme had been established by the Council in April 1995, by its resolution 986 (1995), but its implementation had been delayed until technical and political considerations were negotiated in 1996 between the United Nations Secretariat and the Government of Iraq -- dubbed the "oil-for-food" talks. At the close of those talks, a memorandum of understanding was signed on 20 May 1996 addressing the distribution of humanitarian goods, establishment of an escrow account, and the sale of petroleum and petroleum products originating in Iraq. Agreement on those matters paved the way for resumption of Iraqi oil exports for an initial 180- day period, which began on 10 December 1996.
The Council first met on 4 June, just days before the initial period of the programme was to end on 8 June. Acting under Chapter VII, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1111 (1997), by which it decided that for a second 180-day period beginning on 8 June Iraqi oil could be sold under the same guidelines.
The Council met again on that issue on 12 September and took note of a report of the Secretary-General that the $1 billion target for the first 90 days of the second 180-day period would not be met due to the Iraqi Government's decision to suspend oil sales from 8 June to 13 August. Adopting resolution 1129 (1997), in a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Russian Federation), the Council expressed its concern about the humanitarian consequences of a projected $500,000 shortfall, and decided to extend the first 90-day period, during which $1 billion in Iraqi oil could be sold, by 30 days. Under that Chapter VII action, the Council also decided that during the remaining 60 days in the 180-day period, not more than $1 billion worth of oil could be sold.
The Council met for a third time on 4 December. With the second 180-day period about to end, the Council adopted resolution 1143 (1997) allowing the sale of Iraqi oil for another 180-day period beginning on the following day. The Council also expressed its willingness to find ways of improving the implementation of the "oil-for-food" programme in light of recommendations from the Secretary-General expected before 30 January 1998.
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Two years after the signing of the 1995 Dayton General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international community, authorized by the Security Council, continued to play a fundamental role in maintaining peace in the nations of the former Yugoslavia. A year before, the Council, acting under Chapter VII, had authorized Member States to establish the multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to succeed the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR). The Council established SFOR -- made up of 35,000 troops -- for 18 months and authorized participating Member States to ensure implementation of the military aspects of the 1995 Dayton accords.
Throughout 1997, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) worked closely with SFOR and other international actors to facilitate implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace plan. While the international military presence continued to effectively prevent the recurrence of combat through 1997, the international community became increasingly aware of the need to speed civil reconstruction, if the peace in Bosnia was to take hold and become self-sustaining.
In late December, when 29 speakers addressed a two-day debate on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there was praise for the work of UNMIBH - - comprised of the International Police Task Force (IPTF), United Nations civil affairs and human rights officers and the United Nations Mine Action Centre (MAC) -- to implement the civilian components of the Dayton peace agreement. In the two years since Dayton, UNMIBH had contributed to the inauguration of joint Bosniac-Croat police forces in the two mixed cantons of the Federation; the initiation of a comprehensive police restructuring programme in the Republika Srpska; and the appointment of a multi-ethnic police leadership in the contested city of Brcko.
Nonetheless, with those developments still fragile, by resolution 1144 (1997) of 19 December, the Council extended UNMIBH's mandate until 21 June 1998, the day that SFOR's current Council authorization will also expire. It also decided that UNMIBH would be further extended if an international force replacing SFOR in June 1998 could provide the same security arrangements -- which have allowed the unarmed IPTF monitors to carry out the mission's mandate in an effective manner.
During the two-day debate on Bosnia mentioned above, the representative of the United States told the Council it had become clear that continued progress in Bosnia necessitated a follow-on military force, led by NATO, after SFOR's June withdrawal. Just the day before, he continued, United States
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President William Clinton had authorized the United States to take part in a security presence in Bosnia after the SFOR drawdown to enable intensified civilian and economic efforts in the region.
Earlier in the year, the Council had highlighted the importance of the role of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina in coordinating efforts of civilian organizations and agencies, and reaffirmed that he had the final say in interpreting the civilian implementation of the peace agreement. On 12 June, by resolution 1112 (1997), the Council agreed to the appointment of Carlos Westendorp to succeed Carl Bildt as High Representative.
Also in 1997, 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, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had agreed to binding arbitration by an international tribunal to settle the dispute over control of Brcko. However, the Arbitral Tribunal announced in February that the parties had been unable to agree on the allocation of political responsibilities. Thus, the Arbitral Tribunal decided that the Brcko area would remain under international supervision, and that its future status would remain unresolved until 15 March 1998. On 14 February, the Council called upon the parties to abide by the Tribunal's decision.
In March, representatives to the Brcko Implementation Conference, held in Vienna, endorsed United Nations proposals for international policing of Brcko. On 31 March, the Council authorized the increase of IPTF by 120 officers to enable it to fulfil the tasks outlined by the Brcko Conference. On 16 May, resolution 1107 (1997) authorized the further expansion of the Force to just above 2,000 officers by adding 186 civilian police to ensure that it discharged an expanded human rights mandate, while still carrying out its basic monitoring functions throughout the country.
United Nations military and civilian operations in the eastern section of Croatia, where the Danube river creates the border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, continued throughout the year. While in September the Council expressed concern at the limited progress made towards reintegration of the region, by year's end the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) was nearing the successful conclusion of its mandate: to oversee the two-year transition period during which the ethnically mixed Danube region would be peacefully reintegrated into Croatia.
On 19 December, by resolution 1145 (1997), the Council decided to establish a support group of 180 civilian police monitors to remain in the region after the close of UNTAES on 15 January 1998 -- envisaged as the end of
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the transition period under the Basic Agreement reached in late 1995 between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the region's local Serb authority. The support group will continue international oversight of the Croatian police in the Danube region, particularly with respect to the return of displaced persons, for a single nine-month period beginning on 16 January 1998. Until 15 January 1998, the UNTAES civilian police component will remain at 400 officers and operational control of the region will be progressively turned over to the Croatian Government.
A small United Nations observer mission continued to monitor the demilitarization on the Prevlaka Peninsula throughout 1997, providing an international presence at that highly strategic southern Adriatic port near the border between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When, on 14 July, the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) until 15 January 1998, it reiterated a call upon Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to adopt practical options for improving safety and security in the area. The Council called on the parties to cease all violations of the demilitarization regime, along with military and other activities which might increase tensions.
Since its establishment as an independent mission in February 1996, the United Nations military observers, numbering just over two dozen, patrolled both sides of the border in an attempt to reduce tensions. The Council has repeatedly urged the two parties to resolve the disputed issue of Prevlaka through bilateral negotiations. However, by year's end no progress had been made. Despite the Agreement on Normalization of Relations, signed by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade on 23 August 1996, the parties retain different interpretations of the Prevlaka dispute and different understandings of the security regime established by the United Nations. Croatia maintains that the Prevlaka issue is one of security and that respect for the security regime established by United Nations monitors does not necessarily require their continued presence. The Federal Republic considers the issue a question of territory and wants UNMOP to remain until a settlement is agreed.
On 9 April, in light of the volatility of the situation in Albania, the Council in resolution 1105 (1997) suspended the reduction of the military component of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. By resolution 1110 (1997) of 28 May, the Council extended the Force's mandate for another six months until 30 November, at the same time that it decided on the start of a two-month phased reduction of the mission's military component by 300 beginning from 1 October.
Later in the year, with positive developments reported in and around the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Council, in resolution 1142 (1997) of 4 December, extended UNPREDEP's mandate until 31 August 1998 and decided
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that its military component would remain at its current strength of 750 troops, and then be immediately withdrawn upon the expiration of that extension. The Secretary-General was requested to make recommendations on the type of international presence appropriate as a follow-on to UNPREDEP.
When Albania was engulfed in civil unrest prompted by the collapse of the "pyramid" investment scheme in early 1997, the governments of Albania and Italy requested an urgent meeting of the Council to consider the situation in the country. In a presidential statement on 13 March, the Council urged all concerned to refrain from hostilities and acts of violence and to cooperate with diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis in the country.
Two weeks later, the two governments again requested action by the Council. A letter from Italy referred to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country. In a 28 March letter, Albania said that chaos and anarchy had rendered the Government structures incapable of dealing with the massive unrest sweeping the country, and that the complete disorder and lack of security was bound to bring a wave of tens of thousands of refugees sailing and landing in Italy.
Determining on 28 March that the situation in Albania constituted a threat to international peace and security, the Council, by adopting resolution 1101 (1997), welcomed the establishment for three months of a multinational protection force to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and create secure conditions in Albania. Acting under Chapter VII, the Council authorized Member States participating in the operation, led by Italy, to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel.
The force, known as "Operation Alba", arrived in Albania on 15 April and by the end of its three-month mandate major achievements had been reached in the area of public order. However, with parliamentary elections scheduled for 29 June, the Council, acting again under Chapter VII on 19 June, extended the multinational protection force in Albania for another 45 days.
At a meeting on 14 August following the mission's successful withdrawal, speakers said that the success of the multinational protection force in Albania could provide a precedent for similar operations in the future. They stressed that the Council's swift response and the rapid deployment of the force had ensured a return to stability in Albania.
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In 1997, the Council again addressed the volatile situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security.
Reviewing developments in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, the Secretary-General in a 14 November report said in 1997 the military balance in the country see-sawed wildly between the Taliban and the five-party Northern Alliance, formally known as the Islamic and National Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan. While the factions fought hard throughout the year for control of northern Afghanistan and the northern approaches to Kabul, at year's end the Taliban continued to control most provinces in the south, south-west and southeast, including Kabul and the cities of Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad. The Northern Alliance, operating from the provincial capitals of Mazar-i-Sharif, Bamyan, Taloqan and Maimana, was in control of the provinces in northern and central Afghanistan.
Throughout the year, the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan persisted in peacemaking efforts focused on motivating a negotiated settlement, despite repeated setbacks due to the intransigence of the parties, the Secretary-General stated. The Special Mission maintained contacts with all Afghan factions and pressed them to define their terms for negotiation. Despite its successful convening of an intra-Afghan working group, the Special Mission failed to gain agreement for direct talks due to numerous preconditions set by faction leaders. While the Mission did gain agreement in principle on the necessity of a negotiated settlement, neither side would then agree to unconditional talks.
Early in the year, during an extended Council meeting lasting two days (14 and 15 April) and held amid reports of escalating conflict in Afghanistan, speakers urged the warring parties to cease military activities and engage in a political dialogue to form a broadly based, fully representative government. The representative of Pakistan said "it is high time that the Security Council should listen to the views of the Taliban in order to have a more balanced view of the situation in Afghanistan". On 16 April, in a presidential statement, the Council called upon the parties, in particular the Taliban, to abide by Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and to fully cooperate with the Special Mission. It urged interested countries to coordinate their activities with the Special Mission and refrain form supporting one Afghan party against another.
In another presidential statement, on 9 July, the Council called for an immediate end to the fighting in the country, stressed that all external interference in Afghanistan must cease, and expressed deep concern at the continuing discrimination against girls and women and other violations of human rights. The Council again raised the spectre of regional
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destabilization and noted that the Afghan conflict provided fertile ground for terrorism and illegal drug production and trafficking. In a third presidential statement on 16 December, the Council again urged all parties to the confrontation in Afghanistan to agree immediately on a ceasefire and to engage in dialogue aimed at achieving a lasting political settlement.
But, at year's end, as the Secretary-General stated in his report, "a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan remains elusive, notwithstanding the untiring efforts of the United Nations to broker peace among the country's warring factions".
With prospects for peace in Abkhazia, Georgia, improving and then deteriorating during the past year, the Council maintained its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the region, twice renewing the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). It also continued to support regional peacemaking efforts, led by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and collaborated closely with the CIS peacekeeping force also in the region. While continually reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders, the Council pressed for progress on key issues, such as the future political status of Abkhazia and the return of refugees and displaced persons.
On 30 January, when the Council extended UNOMIG's mandate for six months, it voiced deep concern at the lack of substantive progress towards a comprehensive settlement of such issues. However, at that time, both parties -- the Georgian Government and the Abkhaz leaders -- had begun to revitalize the peace process by meeting bilaterally at high levels. Calling on the parties to break the continuing deadlock, the Council urged full implementation of the 1994 Moscow Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces.
In a presidential statement on 8 May, the Council voiced its support for the plan of the Secretary-General to appoint a resident Special Representative to the region, and to convene a meeting with the two sides to map out areas in which they could make concrete political progress on contentious issues. When on 31 July, by resolution 1124 (1997), the Council extended UNOMIG for another six months, until 31 January 1998, it highlighted again the need for substantive progress towards resolution of the conflict.
That high-level meeting planned by the Secretary-General was held in July in Geneva under the aegis of the United Nations. However, the parties failed to resume the meeting in October, as had been scheduled. In a presidential statement on 6 November, the Council expressed its regret that
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the high-level meeting had not resumed and that, despite strenuous efforts to reactivate the peace process, no visible progress had been made on key issues. It welcomed the plan of the Secretary-General to resume the meeting on 17 November. The Council also reminded the parties that the ability of the international community to assist them depended on their political will to resolve the conflict through dialogue and mutual accommodation.
In another CIS country, Tajikistan, the Council maintained and expanded the work of the United Nations to assist the Tajik parties in fulfilling their commitments to the process of national reconciliation and to the promotion of democracy. On 27 June, three years after United Nations military observers were first deployed to Tajikistan, the Government and the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) signed the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan.
Responding to that positive development, by resolution 1138 (1997) of 14 November, the Council expanded the size and mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) to enhance its ability to assist in implementing the Agreement. The Council increased the number of military observers almost three-fold, from 45 to 120; extended the Mission until 15 May 1998; and decided that under its expanded mandate UNMOT would investigate ceasefire violations and report its findings to the United Nations and to the Commission on National Reconciliation, the main body through which the parties are working to implement the Agreement.
However, the situation remained dangerous and volatile throughout 1997, with attacks on and kidnapping of international personnel serving with UNMOT, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Meeting on 12 September to extend the mandate of UNMOT until November -- one of several UNMOT mandate extensions limited to a few months -- the Council called on the parties to cooperate in ensuring the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and requested the Secretary-General to explore ways to provide security for such personnel.
In November, the Secretary-General was able to report to the Council that, despite continued violence in and around Dushanbe, substantive progress had been made towards addressing security concerns. The parties had agreed to form a joint unit to provide security for United Nations personnel, and the CIS had decided to authorize its peacekeeping force in Tajikistan to also provide security to the United Nations, on request. The ceasefire was on the whole being respected and the parties were making substantive progress towards the implementation of the peace agreement.
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During a meeting on Guatemala on 10 January, China cast the first negative vote of a permanent member -- a veto -- exercised in 1997, preventing the Council from authorizing the deployment of military observers to verify the implementation of a December 1996 ceasefire agreement between the Guatemalan Government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG). Just weeks before, on 29 December 1996, the parties had signed the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace, ending 36 years of civil war in Guatemala.
The representative of China, after the vote, said his Government had cast the negative vote because the Guatemalan Government had provided Taiwan with a venue for secessionist activities against China, by inviting its authorities to the signing of the peace agreement. Also, he continued, Guatemala had for four years unscrupulously supported activities aimed at splitting China in the United Nations. While China supported the Guatemalan peace process, he stressed that "no country's peace process should be at the expense of another country's sovereignty and territorial integrity". His Government might reconsider authorizing the deployment of military observers if the Government of Guatemala removed existing obstacles, he added.
Meeting 10 days later, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing their deployment as an attachment to the United Nations Human Rights Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA). At that meeting on 20 January, the representative of China told the Council that after many rounds of fruitful consultations between his country and Guatemala, they had agreed to a solution removing the obstacles to China's support for the resolution.
The Council met again on 5 March, two days after 155 military observers were deployed to Guatemala to verify the implementation of the ceasefire between the parties, and reiterated its call on them to comply with their commitments under the peace agreement. On 22 May, the Council welcomed the successful conclusion of the military observers mission, and commended both parties for progress made in implementing the peace accords to date.
Another Latin American country on the Council's 1997 agenda was Haiti. On 29 October, one month before the withdrawal of the last United Nations military personnel from that country, the Haitian President sent a letter to the Secretary-General appealing for future international assistance to strengthen the Haitian police force. The planned 30 November withdrawal of the United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) -- one in a series of United Nations operations in Haiti -- meant the departure of a 50-strong international military component, along with 250 civilian police monitors. The Haitian President told the Secretary-General that, although Haiti's national police force had made substantial strides forward during 1997, its
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development into a professional force had been slow and uneven and thus needed further international stewardship.
On 28 November, the Council established the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) for a single one-year period, until 30 November 1998, to continue 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 were authorized to carry personal weapons. It also include a 90- strong special police unit to provide protection for international personnel and property. The closing of UNTMIH marked the end of a year-long transition from a international military presence in Haiti to a civilian monitoring operation. UNTMIH began work in Haiti when the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH), which included 500 military troops, left the country in July.
Forty-nine speakers addressed the Council on 5 and 6 March during a debate in response to concerns of the Arab world over the Israeli Government's decision to begin construction of new housing in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem.
In a 23 February communiqué, the League of Arab States had urged the Council and the co-sponsors of the peace process, particularly the United States, to take prompt action to compel Israel to desist from those settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories, in general, and Al-Quds, in particular. In addition to expanding settlements, the Arab League recalled that, despite Council resolution 1073 (1996) on the subject, the Israeli authorities had kept open the tunnel situated within the Haram al-Sharif (the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock).
During the two-day debate, speakers called upon the Government of Israel to rescind its 26 February decision to build a new settlement in the Jabal Abu Ghneim area of East Jerusalem. A number of representatives urged Israel to refrain from any action that altered the facts on the ground or prejudged the final status negotiations on the city.
The following day, 7 March, the Council failed to adopt a draft resolution that would have called upon Israel to refrain from such settlement activities, due to a negative vote cast by a permanent member, the United States. Meeting again on 21 March, the Council failed to adopt a draft resolution on the same issue for the same reason. The United States representative, in explaining his opposition to the text, said neither the Council nor the Assembly should be inserting themselves into topics that the negotiating partners had decided would be addressed in their permanent status
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talks, adding that such interference could only harden the positions of both sides and make their work more difficult.
Following the Council's failure to act, an emergency session of the General Assembly was requested by the Group of Arab States and States members of the Non-Aligned Movement. The tenth emergency session convened on 24 April to discuss "Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories". At the close of the first segment of the session on 25 April, the Assembly condemned Israel's construction of a new settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim in occupied East Jerusalem and demanded its immediate and full cessation. By a vote of 134 in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States), with 11 abstentions, the Assembly demanded an end to all other Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories, called for the end of all assistance and support for those Israeli activities, and reaffirmed that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were an obstacle to peace.
After a resumption of the session in July, the Assembly reconvened the emergency session on 13 November. At that meeting, it adopted a resolution by which it condemned the Israeli Government's failure to comply with previous resolutions on the matter. By a vote of 139 in favour to 3 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, United States), with 13 abstentions, the Assembly called for re-injection of momentum into the stalled Middle East peace process and for the implementation of all agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It also recommended that the Government of Switzerland, as the depositor of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in times of war, convene a meeting of experts with a target date no later than February 1998.
In related matters, the Council maintained the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) through the year, twice extending its mandate for six-month periods, first on 28 January, then again on 31 July until 31 January 1998. On both occasions, the Council reiterated its strong support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence within its internationally recognized boundaries.
The UNIFIL was established in March 1978 for an initial six-month period to confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and assist the Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. Although through 1997 UNIFIL was still being prevented from implementing its mandate in southern Lebanon, it continued to make an important contribution to stability and to protection of the local population.
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The Council also twice renewed the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), established in May 1974 to supervise the ceasefire and disengagement agreement between Israeli and Syrian forces. The Council first extended for six months its operations on 28 May and again for another six months on 21 November until 31 May 1998. When it took those decisions, the Council issued statements calling upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338 (1973), which called upon the parties to arrive at a comprehensive and durable peace.
Reviewing the situation in Cyprus, the Council met on 27 June and welcomed the Secretary-General's launching of direct negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to a first session of face-to-face negotiations, which convened in July at the Troutbeck conference centre in Dutchess County, New York.
Also at the 27 June meeting, the Council extended the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months, until 31 December, and urged the leaders to cooperate actively and constructively with the Secretary- General and his Special Adviser on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez. The Council reaffirmed its position that a settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bicommunal and bizonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union, in whole or in part, with any other country or any form of partition or secession.
When the Council met again on 23 December, and extended UNFICYP until June 1998, it called upon the military authorities on both sides to refrain from any action, particularly in the vicinity of the buffer zone, which would exacerbate tensions. In making that decision the Council had considered the Secretary-General's report on the period under review, in which he stated that the last six months had been marked by tensions in Cyprus. The lack of progress towards an overall settlement, coupled with increasingly belligerent rhetoric, contributed to a growing sense of frustration in both communities.
When the Council met on 11 July to consider the situation in Cambodia, it expressed its grave concern at recent developments in that country, including violence, which had the effect of jeopardizing continued progress of the Cambodian peace process, and called for an immediate end to the fighting. It reaffirmed the need to respect the principles of national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Calling on
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all parties to fully respect their commitments under the 1988 Paris Agreements on Cambodia, it urged them to resolve their differences peacefully and through political dialogue, and reminded the Cambodian Government of its public undertaking that free and fair legislative elections would be held in May 1998.
In a meeting on 19 June, the Council expressed its grave concern at recent increase in attacks or use of force in conflict situation against refugees and other civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law. The Council underlined the importance of pursuing a coordinated and comprehensive approach in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter. It also encouraged States to consider acceding to the relevant international conventions designed to address the problems of refugees.
That Security Council statement followed a day-long debate on 21 May during which Member States and representatives of international humanitarian organizations discussed difficulties faced in protecting those providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and other civilians in armed conflicts without fear of attack by warring parties. The discussions centred on the difficulty of providing international military support for humanitarian operations while ensuring that humanitarian workers were perceived as impartial. Some called on the Council to provide for security of aid workers when authorizing humanitarian operations. Others cautioned that humanitarian assistance missions should maintain their neutrality at all cost.
Previously, on 12 March, the Council had expressed its grave concern at the recent increase in attacks and the use of force against United Nations and associated personnel. It reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel and United Nations premises, emphasizing that the host country and others concerned must take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel and premises.
In a presidential statement on 14 July, the Council highlighted the increasing role and special functions of civilian police officers in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Council said that the United Nations civilian police monitoring and training of national police forces was an indispensable function that could help build confidence and security between parties and among local populations, and prevent or contain conflicts or to build peace in their aftermath. States were urged to make appropriately trained police available to the Organization at short notice, if possible through stand-by arrangements. The Secretary-General was encouraged to guide States, in order to promote a standardized approach to the training and recruitment of civilian police.
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On 22 July, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1121 (1997), by which it established the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal as a tribute to the more than 1,500 persons from 85 countries who lost their lives while serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal would honour the lives of those who had died serving under the United Nations flag. In establishing the tribute, the Council asked the Secretary-General to establish criteria and procedures for bestowing and administering the Medal.
The Security Council adopted its fifty-first report to the General Assembly on 12 September. It covers the period from 16 June 1996 to 15 June 1997, during which the Council had consultations of the whole totalling 342 hours. It held 115 formal meetings, adopted 52 resolutions and issued 54 statements by the President.
Fulfilling its oversight role of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, as spelled out in the Tribunal's Statute, the Council met on 8 April and forwarded to the Assembly 19 nominations of candidates for judgeships on the Tribunal, which was established by the Council in 1993. According to the Tribunal Statute, the 11 Judges are elected by the Assembly from the list submitted by the Council.
Addressing matters relative to a specific case before the Tribunal, the Council met on 27 August and endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation that the terms of three Tribunal judges be extended beyond 16 November, the date their terms were to expire. In agreeing to extend those terms so that the justices could complete a trial that would still be ongoing in mid- November, the Council took note of the Tribunal's intention to finish the case before November 1998.
Security Council Membership
The Security Council has 15 members. The permanent five are China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. The 10 rotating members in 1997 were Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Kenya, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Sweden.
On 1 January 1998, Bahrain, Brazil, Gabon, Gambia and Slovenia replaced Chile, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Poland and Republic of Korea.
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