- The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998. It covers the period since my last report, dated 30 April 1998 (S/1998/361).
- Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council adopted resolution 1160 (1998) by which, inter alia, it decided that all States should prevent the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related matriel of all types and spare parts for them, and prevent arming and training for terrorist activities there.
II. Security Council Committee Established Pursuant To Resolution 1160 (1998)
- At its second meeting, on 6 May 1998, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1160 (1998) adopted the guidelines for the conduct of its work to assist it in discharging its mandate pursuant to paragraph 9 of resolution 1160 (1998). The text of the guidelines was transmitted to all States and appropriate international organizations.
- On 7 May 1998, Ambassador Celso L. N. Amorium (Brazil), Chairman of the Committee, issued an appeal on behalf of the members of the Committee to all States and international and regional organizations to provide information regarding violations or suspected violations of the prohibitions imposed by the Security Council in resolution 1160 (1998).
- As at 29 May 1998, the following 34 States had reported pursuant to paragraph 12 of resolution 1160 (1998) to the Committee on the steps they had taken to give effect to the prohibitions imposed by the resolution: Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Fiji, Finland, France, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Italy, Japan, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.
III. Comprehensive Regime to Monitor the Implementation of the Prohibitions Imposed by Resolution 1160 (1998)
- In my first report (S/1998/361) dated 30 April 1998, I outlined in general terms the concept of the comprehensive regime to monitor the implementation of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 (1998). Following the informal consultations of the Security Council held on 8 May 1998 to consider the report, I was informed by the President of the Security Council of the Council's wish that in exploring the establishment of a comprehensive regime to monitor the implementation of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160 (1998), I should take into account the existing capacities and potentials, in particular of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Accordingly, on 15 May, I addressed a letter to Mr. Bronislaw Geremek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, in his capacity as Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, in which I invited him to provide me, at his earliest convenience, with the views of OSCE on how to establish the comprehensive monitoring regime. I stated that, in doing so, OSCE could benefit from advice and support from other regional organizations which might be in a position to contribute to the success of the monitoring regime. The full text of the letter is contained in annex I to the present report.
- In a letter dated 1 June 1998, the Chairman-in-Office of OSCE conveyed the views of his Organization on the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring regime. He confirmed the readiness of OSCE to contribute to the monitoring of the arms embargo within its capabilities. He stated that the particular comparative advantage of OSCE was its ongoing presence in the region through its missions deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. He stated further that the monitoring activities, carried out currently by OSCE, along the border between Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as the border between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, can usefully contribute to an overall arms embargo monitoring effort, under the overall responsibility of the United Nations. He added that the border monitoring capabilities of the OSCE presence in Albania were being strengthened. He concluded that, while not being able to assume a leading coordinating role with regard to an arms embargo monitoring effort undertaken by other regional organizations, OSCE might offer a flexible coordinating framework for monitoring activities in the field if so desired by participants in the effort. The full text of the letter is attached to the present report as annex II.
- In the light of the response from OSCE and in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 15 of Security Council resolution 1160 (1998), I have written to the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) the Presidency of the European Union, the Secretary- General of the Western European Union and the Executive Director of the Danube Commission with a view to exploring their readiness to participate in the comprehensive regime, and to submit to me, on the basis of information that may be available to them, reports on suspected violations of the prohibitions imposed by the resolution, for consideration by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1160 (1998).
- Upon receipt of the views of the above-mentioned organizations, I shall submit my recommendation to the Security Council for a comprehensive monitoring regime, taking into account the existing potential within the United Nations and the views expressed by those organizations.
- In accordance with the request of the President of the Security Council, I am looking into the possibility of utilizing the existing potential within the United Nations for the purposes of establishing a comprehensive monitoring regime. I have, in my latest report on the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (S/1998/454 of 1 June 1998), concluded that it would seem to be premature to proceed with a decision to withdraw UNPREDEP after 31 August 1998. I have suggested that the Council may wish to consider extending the mandate of UNPREDEP for an additional six months, until 28 February 1999, on the understanding that the Council could review its decision, should the ongoing discussions at the international level on the possible need for an expanded military presence in the region and on the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring regime result in decisions which would affect UNPREDEP's role and responsibilities. Meanwhile, UNPREDEP will, in accordance with its mandate, continue to monitor and report on developments along the border with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, within its current strength, UNPREDEP will not be able to sustain intensive monitoring and reporting on activities at the borders. Consequently, it would be my intention, should the Council so wish, to submit before 15 July specific proposals on a possible strengthening of the Force's overall capacity, taking into consideration the situation in the region and the relevant Security Council resolutions, including 795 (1992) and 1160 (1998).
IV. Situation in Kosovo
- The Security Council, in resolution 1160 (1998), requested me to keep it regularly informed on the situation in Kosovo and to provide an assessment on whether the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had complied in a constructive manner with conditions put forward by the Contact Group. As the Council is aware, the situation in Kosovo is evolving daily. This report describes the situation up to the time of writing.
- As I indicated in my first report, the United Nations Secretariat has no political presence in Kosovo. Consequently, this part of my report draws primarily on information received from a variety of non-United Nations sources, including the Chairman-in-Office of OSCE and the United States of America, as a member of the Contact Group, in response to requests from the Secretariat for information. Where indicated, it also includes specific data obtained from other sources, such as NATO. The information collected is summarized below in the remainder of section IV.
- Since my last report to the Security Council, the situation in Kosovo has continued to remain tense and security conditions have been steadily deteriorating. Almost daily violent clashes have occurred along the borders with Albania and in other parts of Kosovo. The authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia assert that a total of 356 terrorist assaults were perpetrated between 1 January and 27 May 1998 in Kosovo; and that the main targets were police officers, police premises and civilians, both ethnic Serbs and Albanians. The highest number of incidents was reported in the Glodovac, Decani, Srbica, Djakovica and Klina areas.
- The Serbian special police maintain a strong presence in Kosovo. They have consolidated their positions and reinforced checkpoints, particularly in Drenica. Police heavy equipment is still in place. Special police units have been responsible for armed action against civilians, although they also have suffered casualties as a result of attacks by armed Kosovo Albanians. The Government of Serbia recently announced that it was undertaking what it termed more effective measures against terrorism in Kosovo, which entails the deployment of forces from urban barracks to field camps to restrict the manoeuvrability of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and to counter the increased sophistication of KLA weaponry. The Government reportedly does not plan to reduce its police force in Kosovo.
- The activities of the Yugoslav Army, which maintains a large presence in Kosovo, have centred on securing the borders. Fighting continues between the Government forces and armed Kosovo Albanians in several areas, including Drenica and the Ponosevac region, near the border with Albania.
- The upsurge in violence since mid-May has been characterized by an increase in civilian casualties and the use of heavy weapons against non- combatants. Security incidents have spread beyond Srbica and Glodovac to Klina in the Drenica region, and to the west and south into Decani and Djakovica municipalities, bordering Albania. Fighting between Serbian police and Kosovo Albanians, and KLA attacks on the Pristina-pec road, caused the Serbian authorities to close this main east-west highway for several days beginning on 11 May. This reportedly led to severe food shortages in the western part of Kosovo. During recent police operations in Klina, Ponosevac and Decani municipalities, a number of casualties on both sides were reported. According to Government sources, the clashes were provoked by the KLA attacks. Several villages were reportedly razed or burned, and there are reports that police summarily executed a number of ethnic Albanians. Total casualties in the Kosovo crisis are estimated at approximately 200 since fighting broke out there last February.
- The Kosovo Liberation Army has increased its attacks in recent weeks, and has shown an increased propensity and ability to attack government security forces. It has issued threats against police and military, as well as against Kosovo Albanians who allegedly cooperate with the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Killing and abductions of civilians and police personnel are reportedly continuing on a daily basis in different parts of Kosovo. There are also reports of attacks directed against civilian population centres.
- Various sources report that both Serbs and Kosovo Albanians have been maltreated, harassed and beaten by police and/or unknown perpetrators at various locations. Security incidents have reportedly affected not only ethnic Albanians and Serbs, but also Montenegrins, Roma and Muslims. In a troubling new development, there have been reports of a rise in the number of incidents involving civilians attacking other civilians for ethnically motivated reasons.
- The increased number of acts of violence on both sides and the heavy presence of the Serbian police, including special police units, as well as military forces, have been generating insecurity among the local population. According to some estimates, the number of internally displaced persons, including Kosovo Albanians and ethnic Serbs, exceeded 42,000 by the end of May.
- The intensity of the conflict significantly increased in recent days as a result of a major Serbian police offensive operation in the south- western part of Kosovo, adjacent to the Albanian border. The most recent reports indicate extremely heavy fighting between the Serbian police and armed groups, believed to be KLA, resulting in the loss of dozens of lives. Some observers indicate that the Serbian forces used heavy weaponry, including mortars and possibly artillery. There are also reports that several villages in the area and a number of houses in the town of Decani have been burnt and destroyed. It was not possible to verify these reports as access to the area has been restricted. This new wave of violence in Kosovo caused, for the first time, a significant flow of refugees to Albania. As at 4 June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registered some 6,500 refugees and the number was gradually increasing. Therefore, UNHCR has increased its planning figures to 20,000.
- The latest fighting represents a worrying trend. There is strong apprehension that with the further escalation of hostilities the situation may get out of control and draw neighbouring States into the conflict.
- Tension has increased along the border with Albania. Both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Albania have reported a number of incidents at the border, ranging from illegal border crossings to violations of airspace.
- No evidence was found of large-scale arms trafficking across the border between Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, involving the transfer of heavy weapons or bulk transfers of small arms. The arms trafficking which is occurring appears to be primarily smaller-scale transfers across that border. Because of the topography of the region, the porous border and the limited monitoring, estimates of total amounts are difficult. The Government of Albania reportedly has set up checkpoints on roads leading to the border to prevent vehicles transporting weapons from reaching the border area. Albanian authorities have acknowledged difficulty in controlling the border with Kosovo, and that checkpoints could serve to prevent weapons from reaching the area of conflict.
- In support of efforts aimed at preventing the spread of the current conflict beyond the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, OSCE has developed its border-monitoring capacities in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Proposals to increase the number of monitors are being considered. In Albania, temporary field offices are now established in Bajram Curri and Kukes. The OSCE mission in Albania (19 personnel) cooperates closely with local authorities, the European Community Monitor Mission (22 personnel), UNHCR, the Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje, and also with UNPREDEP.
- The situation along the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is calm and relatively normal. There does not appear to be significant arms trafficking across that border. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has redeployed troops and stepped up patrols along its border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. UNPREDEP conducts daily patrols along the border and reports on incidents it observes, including smuggling. UNPREDEP has not reported any incidents of arms smuggling since the adoption of resolution 1160 (1998).
- On 2 June, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana informed me about the discussion of the situation in Kosovo by the NATO Foreign Minister at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council held on 28 May in Luxembourg. The Foreign Ministers strongly supported the continuation of an international military presence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia after the end of the current mandate of UNPREDEP. They also supported the continuation of the mandate of UNPREDEP that contributed significantly to the stability in the region. Mr. Solana told me that NATO has two major objectives with respect to the situation in Kosovo: first, to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis by contributing to the response of the international community; and secondly, to promote stability and security in neighbouring countries, with particular emphasis on Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. To that end, the Foreign Ministers decided to enhance and supplement NATO's Partnership for Peace activities in both Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, so as to promote security and stability in these Partner countries and to signal NATO's interest in containing the crisis and in seeking a peaceful resolution.
- In addition, so as to have options available for possible later decisions and to confirm NATO's willingness to take further steps if necessary, the Foreign Ministers have commissioned military advice on support for United Nations and OSCE monitoring activity, as well as on NATO preventive deployments in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on a relevant legal basis, in order to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis and to strengthen security and stability in the region.
Access to Kosovo
- Foreign diplomats and journalists have encountered some restrictions in their visits to Kosovo. In some cases the police of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia said diplomats could not enter as roads were impassable because of fighting. Following the Serbian police offensive of 22 May, monitors of the European Community Monitor Mission were reportedly harassed and prevented from reaching the areas under siege.
- There are concerns regarding deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The ability of humanitarian non-governmental organizations to provide relief to internally displaced persons in Kosovo has reportedly been hampered by incidents of harassment by Serbian police and by blocked access to areas with large humanitarian needs. Various sources reported that, beginning on 15 May, the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia impeded food deliveries into Kosovo by blocking the passage of trucks carrying commercial shipments of food and supplies arriving by road. Some 200 trucks were reportedly turned back between 15 and 17 May. The Federal Republic authorities denied that a ban was in place, and stated that certain shipments had been denied entry because of incomplete or false documentation. Meanwhile, UNHCR goods from Belgrade were delivered as usual.
- Information on the blockade caused panic among the local population, which emptied the local stores to stock up on essential foodstuffs. Almost immediately, shortages of staple foodstuffs began to appear in Kosovo. These shortages were alleviated on 21 May, when Federal Republic authorities lifted the blockade, allowing some 80 trucks into Kosovo.
- Reacting to these worrying reports, the NATO Foreign Ministers on 28 May 1998 expressed particular concern "that the recent resurgence of violence has been accompanied by the creation of obstacles denying access by international observers and humanitarian organizations to the affected areas in Kosovo".
Dialogue between the parties concerned
- Following intensive diplomatic efforts by European regional organizations and individual States, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and United States Special Representative Robert S. Gelbard were able to overcome obstacles on both sides to gain agreement for the start of substantive dialogue without preconditions on Kosovo. The dialogue began in Belgrade on 15 May, with a meeting between President Slobodan Milosevic and Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, along with their respective teams. The two sides discussed the modalities of the follow-up negotiations process.
- The Heads of State of the group of eight industrialized countries, meeting at Birmingham on 16 May, noted in their statement on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Kosovo that the 15 May meeting was a "positive first step". The leaders urged both sides "to ensure that the dialogue now begun leads rapidly to the adoption of concrete measures to lower tensions and stop violence". The group of eight further noted that "it is particularly important that President Milosevic has assumed personal responsibility in the search for a resolution of the problems of Kosovo, including its future status".
- At the meeting held on 22 May in Pristina, groups of six experts from each side discussed the framework for future talks and confidence-building measures. The initial meetings were an important first step in the dialogue process. The distance between the two parties remains great, however, and it will be important to reinforce that process. The United States has informed me that it will continue to play an active role in the negotiating process and that Special Representative Gelbard and Ambassador Holbrooke have agreed to facilitate the dialogue if called upon by the parties to do so.
- The NATO Foreign Ministers, in their statement of 28 May 1998, expressed their conviction that the problems of Kosovo can best be resolved through a process of open and unconditional dialogue between the authorities in Belgrade and the Kosovo Albanian leadership. They acknowledged that the status quo is unsustainable and supported a political solution which provides an enhanced status for Kosovo, preserving the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and safeguarding the human and civil rights of all inhabitants of Kosovo, whatever their ethnic origin.
- The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, however, has continued to reject the engagement of outside representatives in the dialogue. The referendum held in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 23 April created a hurdle to direct third-party participation. I discussed this matter and the current situation in Kosovo during my meeting with Mr. Felipe Gonzblez on 1 June 1998.
Measures taken by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- The situation in Kosovo has been the subject of discussion at the weekly meetings of the OSCE Permanent Council and the Watch Group focusing on developments in Kosovo. Furthermore, OSCE has been closely following developments in Kosovo through monitoring visits conducted by diplomatic personnel of OSCE participating States accredited to Belgrade.
- The OSCE Troika prepared a "report on compliance" with the requirements to be met by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, forwarded to the Group's meeting in Rome on 29 April. The report noted, inter alia, no positive development on such central issues as the opening of unconditional dialogue, cessation of violence and the acceptance of the mission of Mr. Gonzblez.
- In a letter to President Milosevic, dated 4 May, the OSCE Chairman-in- Office noted that the situation in Kosovo was deteriorating rather than improving and urged the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to accept the mission of Mr. Gonzblez. A reply dated 7 May from Foreign Minister Jovanovic reiterated that the mission would be welcome only to discuss the relationship between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and OSCE, and the possible return of the OSCE missions of long duration to Kosovo, Sandjak and Vojvodina would not be considered before the participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in OSCE was restored. The Chairman-in- Office, replying to Mr. Jovanovic on 8 May, insisted on the importance of launching the mission of Mr. Gonzblez to talk on all issues dealing with relations between OSCE and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
- In a statement issued on 13 May, the Chairman-in-Office welcomed the announced meeting between President Milosevic and Dr. Rugova and characterized it as an important first step and an opportunity for the two sides to agree on a format for dialogue. The Chairman-in-Office reiterated that an international representative would greatly facilitate such talks.
- A representative of the Chairman-in-Office participated in an informal meeting of the Contact Group organized on the margins of the meeting of the group of eight at Birmingham on 16 May. On the previous day, the group of eight leaders in their final communiqu underlined the importance of cooperation with the Gonzblez mission. They expressed their readiness to promote a clear and achievable path towards the full integration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the international community. At the same time the statement warned that "if Belgrade fails to build on recent progress and a genuine political process does not get under way, its isolation will deepen".
- The NATO Foreign Ministers on 28 May also called upon President Milosevic "to agree to the readmission of the OSCE long-term mission, and to accept the mission of Mr. Felipe Gonzblez, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office and the Special Representative of the European Union".
- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe remains ready to assist in the process aimed at peaceful solution of the conflict in Kosovo and maintains its expectation that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will accept the mission of Mr. Gonzblez as OSCE and European Union representative, as well as three missions of long duration, including that in Pristina.
Implementation of the Kosovo education agreement
- There has been progress in the implementation of the agreement signed by Serbian and Kosovo Albanian members of the "3 plus 3" commission on 23 March. In compliance with the agreement, the Institute of Albanology opened in Pristina on 31 March. The authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia turned over three faculties of the University of Pristina to the Kosovo Albanians on 15 May. Ethnic Serb protesters attempted to block the transfer, and government forces intervened to evict the protesters after they damaged the facilities.
- I have welcomed the beginning of a political dialogue as an important step forward in the search for a just and lasting solution of the problems in Kosovo. Convinced that a non-violent approach is the way to reach a mutually accepted settlement in Kosovo, I strongly support the efforts of those committed to peaceful means. In this regard, I urge the parties concerned to continue the negotiations started in Pristina on 22 May with the aim of lowering tensions, stopping the spread of violence and opening the way for peaceful resolution of the crisis.
- However, the situation in Kosovo continues to be extremely volatile and shows marked signs of deterioration. The armed confrontation in Kosovo has led to loss of life and there is a serious risk of a humanitarian and refugee crisis in the area. In this regard, the most recent Serbian police offensive in Kosovo is particular cause for alarm. I am gravely concerned that the mounting violence in Kosovo might overwhelm political efforts to prevent further escalation of the crisis. I deplore the excessive use of force by the Serbian police in Kosovo and call upon all parties concerned to demonstrate restraint and commit themselves to a peaceful solution. The use of violence to suppress political dissent or in pursuit of political goals is inadmissible. Terrorist activities from whatever quarter contribute to the deadly spiral of violence that jeopardizes stability in the region.
- During a meeting with Dr. Rugova on 2 June 1998, I welcomed his non- violent approach and encouraged him to continue the search for a peaceful and mutually acceptable settlement short of independence. I reiterated that the current situation in Kosovo is unacceptable and assured Dr. Rugova that he may count on international support in his quest for such a solution.
- I commend efforts by regional and other organizations, coalitions of States and individual Governments aimed at achieving a political solution in Kosovo. I invite all parties to cooperate fully with them. I am ready to support the efforts of the international community to resolve the Kosovo crisis with the means at my disposal.