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Security Council Authorises Kosovo Peace Operation

Endorsing Kosovo peace plan, Security Council authorizes civil and military presence under UN auspices.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday endorsed a plan to bring peace to a devastated Kosovo by adopting a resolution which authorizes the deployment of an international civil and security presence under UN auspices.

The Council's action came after Secretary-General Kofi Annan received a letter from NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana saying Yugoslav forces had begun to withdraw from Kosovo and NATO air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been suspended.

The resolution, adopted by a vote of 14 in favour with China abstaining, sets out the terms of a political solution for Kosovo based on the general principles agreed to on 6 May by the Foreign Ministers seven industrialized countries and Russia, known as the G-8, and the peace plan presented to Belgrade last week by Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The Council demanded that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia immediately end the violence in Kosovo and complete a rapid withdrawal of all military, police and paramilitary forces.

It also demanded that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups immediately end all offensive actions and demilitarize. The resolution notes that the Council took its action "bearing in mind" the principles of the UN Charter, including the primary role of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

According to the resolution, the international security presence in Kosovo will have substantial NATO participation and will be deployed under a unified command and control to establish a safe environment for all people in the province and facilitate the safe return of refugees and displaced persons.

It will also be responsible for ensuring the withdrawal and prevent the return of Yugoslav forces, prevent new hostilities, enforce a ceasefire, and demilitarize the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups.

The international civilian presence will be under the control of Secretary-General's Special Representative who will coordinate closely with the security component to ensure that both operations work towards the same goals in a mutually supportive manner.

The civilian operation will be established to provide an interim administration under which, in the words of the resolution, "the people of Kosovo can enjoy substantial autonomy within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." The interim administration will set up and oversee the development of provisional democratic, self- governing institutions to ensure a peaceful and normal life for all Kosovo inhabitants. The civilian operation will also support humanitarian and disaster relief and economic reconstruction, maintain civil law and order and protect and promote human rights.

Under the terms of the plan, an agreed number of Yugoslav and Serb personnel will be allowed to return to liaison with the civilian mission and security presence, help with mine clearance, and maintain a presence at Serb patrimonial sites and key border crossings.

The Security Council also demanded "the full cooperation of all concerned, including the international security presence", with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

ENDS

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