Security Council Authorizes UN Presence in Kosovo War Ends after 78 Days of Bombing

UN Chronicle, Summer 1999 | Go to article overview

Security Council Authorizes UN Presence in Kosovo War Ends after 78 Days of Bombing


The Security Council on 10 June - in welcoming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia s (FRY) acceptance of the principles on a political solution to the Kosovo crisis, including an immediate end to violence and a rapid withdrawal of its military, police and paramilitary forces, and acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter-decided to deploy both international civil and security presence in Kosovo under United Nations auspices.

In adopting resolution 1244 (1999) by 14 votes to none, with 1 abstention (China), the Council also decided that the political solution to the crisis shall be based on the general principles accepted by the FRY Government on 3 June, which included, among other things: immediate and verifiable end to violence and repression in Kosovo; withdrawal of the military, police and paramilitary forces of the FRY; deployment of effective international civil and security presence, with substantial North Atlantic Treaty Organization participation in the security presence; establishment of an interim administration; safe and free return of all refugees; political process providing for substantial self-government, as well as the demilitarization of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA); and comprehensive approach to the economic development of the region.

The Council authorized Member States and relevant organizations to establish an international security presence, whose responsibilities were to include deterring renewed hostilities, demilitarizing the KLA and establishing a secure environment for the return of refugees, in which international civil presence could operate.

The Council also authorized the Secretary-General to establish an international civil presence, requesting the appointment of a Special Representative to control its implementation, and decided that the responsibilities of the civil presence would be, among others: promoting the establishment of substantial autonomy and self-government in Kosovo; performing basic civilian administrative functions; facilitating a political process to determine Kosovo's future status; supporting the reconstruction of key infrastructure and humanitarian and disaster relief; maintaining civil law and order; promoting human rights; and assuring the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo.

On 2 July, after thorough consultation with Member States, the Secretary-General appointed Bernard Kouchner of France as his Special Representative in Kosovo.

By its resolution, the Council confirmed that, after the withdrawal, an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serb military and police personnel would be permitted to return to Kosovo to liaise with both international civil and security presence, mark and clear minefields, and maintain a presence at Serb patrimonial sites and at key border crossings.

The international security and civil presence was established for an initial period of 12 months, to continue thereafter unless the Council decided otherwise. The Secretary-General was asked to report at regular intervals on implementation of the resolution.

"Today, we are seeing at least the beginning of the end of a dark and desolate chapter in the history of the Balkans", Secretary-General Kofi Annan stated, following the adoption of the resolution. Rebuilding homes, restoring infrastructure, renewing institutions and revitalizing civil society would require sacrifice, dedication and persistence, since, in planning terms, winter was fast approaching, and "we are in a race against time", he went on.

The United Nations was determined to lead the civilian implementation of the peace effectively and efficiently. But to do so, it needed the cooperation of all parties and the means to carry out the mandate. What counted was not just the commitment to peace, but the will to implement it in all its aspects, he said. That included tasks for which the United Nations was not responsible, but which were vital if peace and stability were to be restored.

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Security Council Authorizes UN Presence in Kosovo War Ends after 78 Days of Bombing
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