Security Council Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire, Cessation of All Hostilities, Withdrawal of Forces to International Boundaries without Delay

UN Chronicle, April 1986 | Go to article overview

Security Council Calls for Immediate Cease-Fire, Cessation of All Hostilities, Withdrawal of Forces to International Boundaries without Delay


Security Council calls for immediate cease-fire, cessation of all hostilities, withdrawal of forces to international boundaries without delay

The Security Council on 24 February unanimously called upon Iran and Iraq to observe an "immediate cease-fire, a cessation of all hostilities on land, at sea and in the air and withdrawal of all forces to the internationally recognized boundaries without delay'. Both parties were also called on to submit immediately "all aspects of the conflict to mediation or to any other means of peaceful settlement of disputes'.

In resolution 582 (1986), the Council deplored "the initial acts which gave rise to the conflict between Iran and Iraq', and its continuation and escalation, "especially territorial incursions, the bombing of purely civilian population centres, attacks on neutral shipping or civilian aircraft, the violation of international humanitarian law and other laws of armed conflict and, in particular, the use of chemical weapons contrary to obligations under the 1925 Geneva Protocol'.

(The Protocol calls for "the prohibition of the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of bacteriological methods of warfare'. Both Iran and Iraq are parties to the Protocol.)

The text (S/17859) was submitted by Council President Martin Adouki (Congo), following consultations among members.

The Council urged that a comprehensive exchange of prisoners of war be completed within a short period after the cessation of hostilities in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar was requested to continue his ongoing efforts to assist the two parties, to give effect to the Council resolution and to keep the Council informed. All other States were called upon to "exercise the utmost restraint' and refrain from any act which might lead to a further escalation and widening of the conflict.

The Council met four times on the matter between 18 and 24 February at the request of the Committee of Seven of the Council of the League of Arab States. The Committee cited "disturbing developments' following Iran's "new, large-scale armed aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq in the sector east of Basra and the sector of the Shatt al-Arab, which began on the night of 9/10 February 1986', and asked that "serious practical and speedy measures' to end the war and solve the conflict by peaceful means be taken in accordance with the Charter and international law.

The Committee of Seven consists of the Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen; and the Minister of National Education of Morocco.

"Deep concern': On 11 February, the Secretary-General stated he was "deeply concerned' at renewed fighting between Iran and Iraq, following the Iranian military operations in the southern front. Force, he said, could not solve the "underlying issues of this long and tragic conflict'. Peace must be given a chance and "concerted and determined efforts' made, on the basis of his eight-point proposals (first presented in March 1985) to end the war and its "intense suffering'.

On 14 February, the Council met informally to review the situation at the request of the Secretary-General, who had conveyed "his grave concern at the serious developments following the Iranian offensive into Iraqi territory'.

The Secretary-General, in a 14 February statement, strongly reiterated his conviction that military force could not resolve the issues underlying that tragic and prolonged conflict. He called for a cessation of hostilities in order to facilitate efforts to promote a just and peaceful resolution of that conflict.

The Secretary-General indicated his concern was increased by allegations of renewed use of chemical weapons and counter-allegations. A cessation of hostilities would make it possible for an investigation in the war zone where such weapons were alleged to have been used, he stated. …

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