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|Security Council Extends Observer Mission in Tajikistan until 15 May 2000|
Resolution 1274 (1999) Adopted Unanimously
NEW YORK, 12 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for six months, until 15 May 2000.
Through the unanimously adopted resolution 1274 (1999), the Council called upon the parties to undertake concerted measures to implement fully the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord and to create conditions for the timely holding of parliamentary elections, which will be the last major event in the transitional period envisaged in the General Agreement. The elections are to be held before the term of the current Parliament expires at the end of February 2000.
Also by today's action, the Council welcomed the signing on 5 November 1999 by the President of Tajikistan and the Chairman of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) of the Protocol on political guarantees for preparing and conducting the parliamentary elections. It reiterated the importance of the United Nations involvement, in continued close cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in the preparations for and monitoring of the parliamentary elections. Also, the Council underlined the necessity of the full resumption of the work of the CNR.
Expressing deep concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, the Council called upon the parties to cooperate in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces and other international personnel. It reminded them that the international community's ability to assist Tajikistan was linked to the security of those personnel.
Reiterating the need for the Mission to have the necessary personnel and financial support, the Council called for voluntary contributions for projects for demobilization, reintegration and support for the elections. It requested the Secretary-General to continue to consider means of ensuring a full and active role for UNMOT in implementing the General Agreement and supported his intention to outline a proposed political role for the United Nations in assisting Tajikistan to continue on the path of peace and national reconciliation after the mandate of UNMOT was concluded.
Speaking before the Council's action, the representative of Tajikistan said he hoped the international community would increase efforts to support democratic efforts in the country. Comprehensive support was vital to ensuring that the peace process was irreversible. He expressed appreciation for the efforts of UNMOT, the guarantor States, the United Nations, the OSCE and other entities, and also greatly appreciated assistance towards socio-economic and democratic reforms.
The meeting began at 11:14 a.m. and adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan (document S/1999/1127), which reviews the developments in that country and the activities of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) since 12 August 1999.
The Secretary-General recommends that the Council extend UNMOT's mandate for another six months, until 15 May 2000. That would be the last extension of the mandate, he envisions, since the process of transition stipulated in the General Agreement would come to an end during the period.
Should the Council decide to extend UNMOT's mandate at its current strength beyond 15 November 1999, the monthly cost of maintaining the Mission would be approximately $1.6 million, the report states. The General Assembly, in its resolution 53/19 B of 8 June 1999, appropriated $18.7 million for the maintenance of UNMOT for the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2000. As of 30 September 1999, unpaid assessed contributions to the Special Account for UNMOT amounted to $7.4 million. This represents 12 per cent of the total assessment for the Mission. Unpaid assessments for all peacekeeping operations amounted to $1.8 billion.
The report goes on to say that, although the peace process was marred by recurrent crises and the implementation of the General Agreement has been far from perfect, there has been progress, due mainly to the Mission's extraordinary efforts and the active support of the guarantor States and international organizations that make up the Contact Group. Some of the benchmarks reached during the reporting period were the lifting of the ban on political parties belonging to the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) on 13 August and the holding of a referendum on changes and amendments to the Constitution on 26 September.
Also, the report states, controversy over the registration of candidates for the presidential election scheduled for 6 November -- some candidates claimed that intimidation and obstruction at the local level had impeded them from collecting the requisite number of signatures -- prompted the UTO to suspend its participation in the work of the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) on 18 October.
At the suggestion of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ivo Petrov, the CNR agreed to set up a working group whose aim is to obtain assurances from the political leadership that the obstacles, impediments and other difficulties allegedly created during the presidential election are eliminated during the parliamentary elections, the report continues. It was also suggested that the working group discuss ways to overcome the difficulties relating to the presidential election. At the time the report was issued, however, the scope of the working group was still undecided.
The report states that, on the assumption that these difficulties will be overcome, the United Nations, in cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is preparing to monitor the electoral process and advise the Government on what needs to be done to meet international standards.
The referendum on changes and amendments to the Constitution took place on 26 September, the document continues. Some of the amendments approved were: the establishment of a two-chamber Parliament; the establishment of a Judicial Council, which will participate in appointing and dismissing judges at various levels; and the extension of the term of President from five to seven years with no possibility of re-election.
The role of the UTO in Tajikistan's political landscape was significantly changed during the reporting period, Mr. Annan states. Following the UTO's disbandment of its armed forces, on 13 August, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on UTO political parties and movements. This led to a nationwide disarmament campaign from 5 August to 25 August, with the participation of members of the CNR and other high-ranking personalities. Also, President Rakhmonov granted amnesty to 40 UTO supporters imprisoned on criminal charges. And finally, two UTO members were appointed to posts at the district and city level, bringing the total at that level to 14.
But the final results of the disarmament campaign were disappointing, the Secretary-General reports. Most serviceable weapons are believed to still be in the hands of former UTO fighters, other groups and the population at large. Also, despite government reports of places set aside for former UTO fighters in the armed forces, police and security forces, relatively few of the fighters had actually been integrated into the chain of command or were being provided salaries, uniforms, food or accommodation.
The humanitarian operations of the United Nations include life-saving interventions and programmes aimed at stabilizing populations at risk, complementing job-creation projects for former fighters, the document states. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has assisted in the voluntary repatriation of 4,119 Tajik refugees from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The United Nations has also continued job-creation projects, and the Mission conducted courses on human dignity and the police for more than 100 police trainers.
Even as UNMOT approaches the completion of its assignment, close international involvement in Tajikistan remained essential to ensure that conflicts were resolved by peaceful means, rather than by violence, the Secretary-General stresses. The continued political presence of the United Nations would greatly assist in ensuring that Tajikistan can consolidate the path of peace and national reconciliation. The Secretary-General intends to outline a possible political role of the United Nations in this respect, in a report submitted after the upcoming parliamentary elections (to be held before the term of the current Parliament expires at the end of February 2000).
The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1999/1158), which reads, as follows:
“Recalling all its relevant resolutions and the statements of its President,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Tajikistan of 4 November 1999 (S/1999/1127),
“Reaffirming its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Tajikistan and to the inviolability of its borders,
“Welcoming significant progress in the peace process in Tajikistan, particularly the holding of the constitutional referendum which followed the official declaration by the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) of the disbandment of its armed units and the decision by the Supreme Court of Tajikistan lifting the bans and restrictions on activities by the political parties and movements of the UTO, and noting with satisfaction that these developments have set Tajikistan on the course of national reconciliation and democratization,
“Acknowledging the holding of the presidential elections on 6 November 1999 as a necessary and important step towards durable peace in Tajikistan,
“Welcoming further the maintenance of close contact by the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) with the parties, as well as its cooperative liaison with the Collective Peacekeeping
Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS Peacekeeping Forces), the Russian border forces and the Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
“Noting with appreciation the continued contribution of the Contact Group of Guarantor States and International Organizations to the peace process, in particular through periodic joint plenary meetings with the CNR to review progress and to help to overcome difficulties in the implementation of the General Agreement,
“Welcoming the fact that the general situation in Tajikistan has remained relatively calm with better security than in earlier periods, while noting that the situation in some parts of the country remained tense,
“Recognizing that comprehensive international support remains crucial for achieving a positive outcome of the peace process in Tajikistan,
“1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General of 4 November 1999;
“2. Calls upon the parties to undertake further concerted measures to implement fully the General Agreement, especially all the provisions of the Protocol on military issues (S/1997/209, annex II), and to create conditions for the timely holding of parliamentary elections, underlines the necessity of the full resumption of the work of the CNR and reiterates its encouragement to the CNR to intensify its efforts to broaden a dialogue among the various political forces in the country in the interests of the restoration and strengthening of civil accord in Tajikistan;
“3. Welcomes the signing on 5 November 1999 by the President of Tajikistan and the Chairman of the CNR of the Protocol on political guaranties for the preparation and conduct of the parliamentary elections and, bearing in mind concerns expressed by the Secretary-General in his report, regards the strict implementation of this Protocol as essential for the successful holding of free, fair and democratic parliamentary elections under international monitoring as foreseen in the General Agreement;
“4. Notes with appreciation the work of the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and of all the personnel of UNMOT, encourages them to continue assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement, reiterates the need for the Mission to operate throughout Tajikistan and to have the necessary personnel and financial support, and requests the Secretary-General to continue to consider means of ensuring a full and active role for UNMOT in the implementation of the General Agreement;
“5. Reiterates the importance of the involvement of the United Nations, in continued close cooperation with the OSCE, in the preparations for and monitoring of the parliamentary elections in Tajikistan, which will be the last major event of the transitional period envisaged in the General Agreement;
“6. Supports the continued active involvement of the Contact Group in the peace process;
“7. Welcomes the continued contribution made by the CIS Peacekeeping Forces in assisting the parties in the implementation of the General Agreement in coordination with all concerned;
“8. Calls upon the parties to cooperate further in ensuring the security and freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, the CIS Peacekeeping Forces and other international personnel and reminds the parties that the ability of the international community to mobilize and to continue assistance for Tajikistan is linked to the security of those personnel;
“9. Expresses its deep concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in Tajikistan, and welcomes the assistance provided by Member States, international organizations and humanitarian workers towards the implementation of the General Agreement and addressing the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development needs of Tajikistan;
“10. Calls upon Member States and others concerned to make voluntary contributions to launch projects for demobilization and reintegration and to provide support for the elections, and to continue to respond promptly and generously to the consolidated inter-agency appeal for Tajikistan for 1999, and welcomes the preparation of a new appeal for 2000 as a strategic document that will guide a gradual transition to a more development-oriented focus;
“11. Decides to extend the mandate of UNMOT for a period of six months until 15 May 2000;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of all significant developments, also requests him to submit after the parliamentary elections and within four months of the adoption of this resolution an interim report on its implementation, and supports his intention to outline in the above-mentioned report the future political role for the United Nations in assisting Tajikistan to continue on the path of peace and national reconciliation and contributing to the democratic development of Tajik society after the mandate of UNMOT is concluded;
“13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said today’s meeting was taking place at an extremely critical time for his country. On 6 November, the country had held presidential elections with a choice of candidates. That had been the most important and outstanding event in the country’s political life since the signing in June 1997 of the General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord. Also, those elections had followed a national referendum on changes and amendments to the Constitution.
The elections were important not least because they were the first held in the new conditions of political pluralism, he said. The Islamic Renewal Party, an opposition religious party, participated in the election campaign. An absolute majority of voters voted in favour of the current President, despite existing religious and philosophical differences.
Those advances had been supported by the guarantor States, the United Nations, the OSCE and other entities directly involved in strengthening Tajikistan, he said. Their efforts and those of UNMOT were greatly appreciated. The Government was resolved to create the necessary conditions to ensure that the elections would be another milestone towards establishing the democratic process. Tajikistan hoped the international community would increase efforts to support democratic efforts in the country, through steps including the generous response to the inter-agency appeal for the year 2000. Comprehensive support was vital to ensuring that the peace process was irreversible. Tajikistan appreciated the comprehensive assistance to socio-economic and democratic reforms.
The Security Council then unanimously adopted resolution 1274 (1999).
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