Magazine article UN Chronicle

Larger Role for UN in Central America Urged; Presidents Ask for Demobilization of Irregular Forces

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Larger Role for UN in Central America Urged; Presidents Ask for Demobilization of Irregular Forces

Article excerpt

Presidents ask for demobilization of irregular forces

The United Nations has been asked to play a larger role in the Central America peace process. The request was made by the region's five Presidents at a summit meeting in San Isidro de Coronado, Costa Rica (10-12 December).

The Presidents of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua want the mandate of the United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) expanded to give it direct responsibility for demobilizing irregular forces in the region.

They also want ONUCA to prevent the supply of weapons both to the Nicaraguan resistance and to the Frente Farabundo Marti por la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN) in El Salvador, and to verify any cease-fires.

ONUCA was established by the Security Council on 7 November 1989, strictly as an observer mission. Its mandate: to verify the cessation of aid to irregular forces and the non-use of the territory of one State for attacks on other States. Any change in that mandate must be approved by the Council.

In a Declaration (A/44/872S/21019) adopted at the end of their three-day summit, the Presidents also asked UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to speed up full deployment and functioning of ONUCA, take steps to reinitiate the dialogue between the Government of El Salvador and the FMLN, and involve States with interests in the region more directly in the peace efforts.

The International Support and Verification Commission (CIAV) was asked "to proceed at once" with the demobilization of the FMLN. All funds for the Nicaraguan resistance, the Declaration stated, should be immediately turned over to CIAV. The Commission was jointly established on 6 September 1989 by the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS).

"Initiation of the demobilization of the Nicaraguan resistance and the FMLN is a key factor in overcoming the crisis besetting the peace process", the Presidents stated.

The Nicaraguan Government should make at once "the necessary contacts with ONUCA and CIAV so that the demobilization of the Nicaraguan resistance forces in Honduras may begin as of the signing of this agreement", they added.

The Presidents strongly supported El Salvador President Alfredo Cristiani in his efforts to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the conflict in his country.

They reiterated their appeal to the FMLN to cease hostilities, resume the dialogue with the Government and "publicly renounce any type of violent action that may directly or indirectly affect the civilian population".

They also appealed to the Nicaraguan resistance "to cease any action which may jeopardize

"the electoral process and the civilian population". Elections in Nicaragua have been scheduled for February 1990.

Presidents Cristiani of El Salvador and Daniel Ortega Saavedra of Nicaragua were urged to end through negotiations and dialogue, "the estrangement between their Governments".

The General Assembly on 23 October expressed (44/10) its strongest support for the peace process in Central America and fully supported the Secretary General's efforts in that regard.

The Assembly also reviewed the Special Plan of Economic Cooperation for Central America adopted by the General Assembly in 1987 (42/204).

The Secretary-General reported (A/44/519) that already under the Plan, 21 development projects, costing some $11.2 million, had been approved, with $12.4 million available for technical assistance projects.

In his last report of the year on Central America (A/44/886S/21029), Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar said on 21 December that he hoped that the cycle of great expectations and deep disappointments that had characterized the peace process in the region would finally be broken.

"I hope that the decisions adopted by the Central American Presidents will definitely guide the process along the right lines", he said. …

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