Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


Prepared by the Peace and Security Section
United Nations Department of Public Information
Last update 19 March 1999
Not an official document of the United Nations


28 February 1999: After mandate termination, UNPREDEP renamed UN SKOPJE
After the mandate came to an end on 28 February 1999, the United Nations presence in FYROM has been officially renamed from UNPEDEP to UN SKOPJE.

25 February 1999: UNPREDEP's mandate not renewed beyond 28 February 1999
as Council does not adopt draft on six-month extension due to veto by China

China, on 25 February 1999, used its veto in the Security Council to prevent a renewal of UNPREDEP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Press Release SC/6648) . By a vote of 13 in favour, to one against (China), with one abstention (Russian Federation), the Council failed to adopt the eight-nation draft resolution (S/1999/201), sponsored by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, United Kingdom and the United States that would have extended UNPREDEP's mandate for another six months. Speaking after the vote, the Chinese delegate said his Government had always maintained that UN peacekeeping operations, including preventive deployment missions should not be open- ended. The situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had apparently stabilized in the past few years and its relations with neighbouring countries had improved. The Organization's resources were better used in areas such as Africa, which was plagued by conflict and instability.

Several delegations of Member States expressed regret as to China's veto vote, pointing towards a possible spill-over of tensions from Kosovo across the border with FYROM. UNPREDEP's host Governement, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia noted in the Council that UNPREDEP was discharging its mandate in an exemplary manner, amid a regional situation that continued to be very difficult, dangerous and unpredictable. The possibility of a new bloody war in the Balkans was a real one. The United Nations should not abandon the region, or run from trouble; rather, it should prevent it. Therefore, extending UNPREDEP's mandate would support regional efforts at peace.

Among those, the United States emphasized that FYROM made enormous strides towards democratization and economic stability, but was still confronted very real security threats.There was a distinct risk that tensions elsewhere in the region would reverberate along the border - with Kosovo being just the most recent flashpoint. Thus, the United States deemed the continued role of UNPREDEP as presently indispensable. An overall attainment of regional security - particularly during such sensitive a period - should outweigh other considerations. The Russian Federation - which had abstained from the draft, said the functions of UNPREDEP in monitoring compliance with the arms embargo should become the main component of its activity and should be highlighted in its mandate, but were not duly reflected in the final text.

The President of the Security Council, the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations voiced opinion on behalf of his nation that UNPREDEP's continued presence in FYROM was essential at the critical juncture of regional instability, particularly in neighbouring Kosovo. To date, the mission had been an unquestionable success. It was the first and still unique example of preventive deployment under United Nations auspices. According to Canada, UNPREDEP was the "sole reminder of the cost effectiveness of prevention in all aspects of international peace and security". Canada was deeply concerned that the inability of the Council to agree on mandate extension, in spite of the clear need for such, and despite the expressed will of the majority of Council members, had set a negative precedent at a critical juncture for peace and stability in the Balkans. The credibility and authority of the Council might suffer just when it was most needed in the region and beyond.

Germany - on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Iceland and Norway - expressed the Union's support of and attachment of great importance to the role of UNPREDEP as a stabilizing and peace-promoting element in the geo-political context of the region. The Mission was the first preventive deployment force of the United Nations and viewed generally as a great success to serve as a model for future such deployments. The European Union saw the value of UNPREDEP not only in its military component and its border monitoring, but also in its civilian efforts to promote understanding among the different ethnic groups in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a statement after the Council vote that a new approach would have to be adopted by the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and its neighbours, in consultation with regional organizations. In his latest report before the Council vote, the Secretary-General had recommended that UNPREDEP be extended for another six-month period - through 31 August - as taken up in draft resolution S/1999/201 considered on 25 February 1999. The Force's extension was likewise requested by FYROM in letter S/1999/108 of 29 January 1999 addressed to the Secretary-General based on concern over the danger of a spill-over of the Kosovo conflict, increased tensions on the Albanian-Yugoslav border, the unstable situation in Albania itself- which burdened FYROM's efforts to prevent arms trafficking to Kosovo - and the lack of progress in the demarcation of the country's border with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

12 February 1999: As peace and security in UNPREDEP mandate area
largely depend on external factors, mission's presence deemed necessary
by Secretary-General

On 12 February 1999, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council on UNPREDEP's activities and developments in the mission area since 14 July 1998, pursuant to Council resolution 1186(1998) of 21 July 1998, by which the Council had extended UNPREDP until 28 February 1999 with an authorized increase in its troop strength of up to 1,050. The report said that peace and stability in FYROM continued to depend largely on developments in other parts of the region, in particular in Kosovo. Adding tensions, relations between FYROM and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have been strained after UNPREDEP's host country's decision to authorize the deployment of the NATO Extraction Force on its territory. This decision prompted a strong protest by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Neither did progress materialize in the border demarcation task between the two countries. The Joint Border Commission, after a hiatus of six months, had yet to resume its deliberations. On 30 January 1999, S/1999/99 , the Secretary-General already expressed increasing concern that the spread of violence and the nature of the attacks in Kosovo could lead to a situation of all-out civil war in the province, which might have unpredictable repercussions for the entire region. Thus, it was a matter of satisfaction , the Secretary-General stated on 12 February 1999, that as of then, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has not been adversely affected by the Kosovo conflict. However, the potential serious repercussions that continued violence in Kosovo could have upon the external and internal security of the country must not be ignored given the large proportion of ethnic Albanians in the population of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

UNPREDEP contributed successfully to preventing the spill-over of conflicts elsewhere in the region to the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. By promoting dialogue among the various political forces and ethnic communities in the country, the mission had a stabilizing effect in the terrain. The confidence inspired by its presence has defused tensions that could have arisen as a result of the continued crisis in Kosovo. The increase in UNPREDEP's military component by 300 all ranks, authorized by Security Council resolution 1186(1998) of 21 July 1998, was completed by the beginning of January, thus bringing its strength to 1,050 troops. Pursuant to resolution 1160(1998) decided on by the Council on 31 March 1998, UNPREDEP undertook the new tasks of monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows and other activities prohibited by that Council decision. Newly set up UNPREDEPmobile reaction teams responded to sighted smuggling activities by moving quickly to continue observation and provided more accurate information on whether arms, ammunition or explosives were involved. On average, UNPREDEP military personnel conducted some 400 patrols per week, including 300 border and community patrols, established 80 temporary observation posts (from 3 to 24 hours), and conducted 15 helicopter patrols. The civilian police monitors, in addition, conducted approximately 100 patrols per week.

18 December 1998: Fernando Valenzuela-Marzo (Spain) appointed
new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for FYROM

On 18 December 1998 (S/1998/1191; S/1998/1192), Fernando Valenzuela-Marzo of Spain was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. His predecessor and first SRSG for FYROM was appointed on 24 May 1995 by the Secretary-General: Henryk J. Sokalski became the Secretary-General's Special Representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and UNPREDEP Head of Mission at the Assistant-Secretary-General level. Mr. Sokalski began serving in the mandate area from 5 July 1995 until September 1998.

30 November 1998: UNPREDEP troop strength and contributors
As of 30 November1998, the Mission' total uniformed personnel strength stood at 906; comprised of 846 troops, 35 military observers and 25 civilian police. As of that date, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States were contributing military personnel to UNPREDEP. In mid- September 1998, Brigadier-General Ove Johnny Stromberg of Norway as the new UNPREDEP Force Commander.

24 October 1998: Security Council demands full compliance by Belgrade
on Kosovo agreements

Concern about a possible spill-over of the Kosovo conflict into FYROM due to its shared border directly concerned UNPREDEP, which mandate comprised patrolling that border area. By the adoption of resolution 1203/1998 on 24 October 1998, the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, endorsed and supported the agreements signed in Belgrade on 16 October 1998 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the OSCE, and on 15 October 1998 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and NATO, concerning the verification of compliance by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and all others concerned in Kosovo with the requirements of its resolution 1199/1998 - adopted on 23 September 1998 - and demanded the full and prompt implementation of these agreements by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

24 August 1998: Security Council calls for end of violence in Kosovo;
notes role of UNPREDEP in the region

The Security Council called on 24 August 1998, by Presidential Statement S/PRST/1998/25 for an immediate ceasefire in Kosovo, emphasizing the need for the achievement of a political solution to the conflict by the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Albanians. The Council reiterated the importance of the implementation of its 31 March 1998 resolution 1160(1998) , by which it banned the sale or supply to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, of arms and related materiel of all types. By that resolution, it also decided that States should prevent arming and training for terrorist activities in Kosovo. The Council reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

On 24 August, the Council also considered the 5 August report of the Secretary-General on the Kosovo situation S/1998/712 , which stated that, while all organizations contacted had stated readiness to contribute actively to the monitoring of the prohibitions imposed by resolution 1160(1998) , the overall resources pledged by them would not allow for the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring regime as envisaged in the resolution. Nonetheless, their proposed contributions, coupled with that of the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), would provide a useful framework for reporting on violations of the prohibitions and for assisting the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1160(1998) in discharging its mandate. The Committee, consisting of all Council members, was established to facilitate implementation of the arms embargo.

The report noted that Council resolution 1186(1998) of 21 July 1998 had authorized an increase in the troop strength of the UNPREDEP and an extension of its current mandate for a further six months, until 28 February 1999, including the tasks of monitoring the border areas and reporting to the Secretary-General on illicit arms flows and other activities prohibited under resolution 1160(1998) . In the absence of an integrated coordinating mechanism, representatives of participating organizations, UNPREDEP and the Secretariat were to exchange information on the monitoring of those prohibitions.

21 July 1998: Resolution 1186(1998) increases UNPREDEP troop strength
to 1,050 personnel and extends mission mandate until 28 February 1999

By adopting resolution 1186/1998 of 21 July 1998, the Security Council authorized an increase in the troop strength of UNPREDEP up to 1,050 and extended the mandate of UNPREDEP for a period of six months until 28 February 1999, including to continue, by its presence, to deter threats and prevent clashes, to monitor the border areas, and to report to the Secretary-General any developments which could pose a threat to the host country, including the tasks of monitoring and reporting on illicit arms flows and other activities that were prohibited under resolution 1160(1998) .

14 July 1998: Secretary-General report on UNPREDEP
recommends mandate extension and strengthening of Force

On 14 July 1998, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council report S/1998/644 . The Secretary-General stated that, since the start of the Kosovo crisis, UNPREDEP has intensified patrols along the borders with Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and also established temporary observation posts for 24-hour monitoring and reporting on activities at the borders throughout its area of operation. The imposition of these additional tasks came at a time when the fulfilment of UNPREDEP's existing responsibilities have already stretched the reduced strength of the operation to the limit.

The Secretary-General recommended thus that the Security Council consider the extension of UNPREDEP's mandate for a further period of six months, until 28 February 1999. In view of the constraints placed on UNPREDEP in monitoring and reporting on developments along the borders, including the Kosovo stretch of the border, the Council might also consider increasing UNPREDEP's troop level by 350 all ranks. The majority of these troops, 230 in total, would be deployed at nine new permanently manned observation posts in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia along the Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) and Albanian borders. The troops would, in accordance with resolution 795 (1992), monitor and report on developments in the border areas, including those developments that would have a bearing on the implementation of the relevant provisions of resolution 1160(1998) . A reserve of two platoons composed of approximately 60 soldiers would perform limited ground and air patrolling duties. Due to the important confidence-building role played by the military observer and the civilian police elements of UNPREDEP, the Security Council might consider increasing their strength by an additional twelve and twenty-four personnel respectively. The strengthened military observers and civilian police elements would intensify community and border patrols as well as monitoring and reporting of the situation at border crossing stations.

15 June 1998: NATO air exercises over FYROM aim at assisting the country
to maintain stability and integrity; NATO defense ministers condemn violence
in Kosovo and support continuation of UNPREDEP

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in FYROM reported on 15 June 1998 that, following NATO's decision to carry out a military air exercise over FYROM and Albania as a demonstration of the Alliance's firm stand on the ongoing crisis in Kosovo, approval was given after intense consultations by the FYROM government. Defense Minister Lazar Kitanovski emphasized that the air exercise proved NATO's determination to assist FYROM in maintaining its integrity and stability. Some 85 NATO planes carrying live ammunition participated in the 15 June air exercise "Determined Falcon".
On 11 June in Brussels, NATO defense ministers condemned the violence in Kosovo and extended support for the continuation of UNPREDEP and provision of possible support for UN and OSCE monitoring powers.


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