Return to: Index of "US Mission to the UN Press Releases"
Index of "Intl. Organizations and Conferences" || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage


U.S. Department of State
96/01/15 USUN Press Release #004-(96)
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
 
 
 
 
FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY                USUN PRESS RELEASE #004-(96) 
CHECK TEXT AGAINST DELIVERY                        JANUARY 15, 1995 
 
 
Statement by Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright, United States Permanent 
Representative to the United Nations, on Eastern Slavonia and Prevlaka, 
in the Security Council, in Explanation of Vote, January 15, 1996 
------------------------------------------------------------------ 
 
MR. PRESIDENT, THE TWO DRAFT RESOLUTIONS BEFORE US TODAY WILL FURTHER 
ADVANCE THE PEACE PROCESS IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.  THE UNITED STATES 
FIRMLY SUPPORTS THE RESOLUTION THE SECURITY COUNCIL IS ADOPTING ON 
EASTERN SLAVONIA, BARANJA, AND WESTERN SIRMIUM.  A PEACEFUL SOLUTION IN 
EASTERN SLAVONIA IS ESSENTIAL TO A LASTING PEACE IN ALL THE REGIONS OF 
THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. 
 
IN THE NOVEMBER 12 BASIC AGREEMENT THE CROATIAN GOVERNMENT AND LOCAL 
SERBS COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT IN 
EASTERN SLAVONIA, BARANJA, AND WESTERN SIRMIUM.  IN THAT AGREEMENT, THE 
PARTIES APPEALED TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO ASSIST IN ITS 
IMPLEMENTATION.  THE RESOLUTION WE HAVE JUST VOTED ON RESPONDS TO THAT 
REQUEST. 
 
THE UNITED STATES PLAYED A FACILITATING ROLE IN THE NEGOTIATIONS THAT 
LED TO THE NOVEMBER 12 AGREEMENT.  WE BELIEVE THAT THE BASIC AGREEMENT 
PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT OVER EASTERN SLAVONIA, 
BARANJA, AND WESTERN SIRMIUM, IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH PREVIOUS 
RESOLUTIONS OF THIS COUNCIL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW.  IT CALLS FOR THE 
PEACEFUL REINTEGRATION OF THOSE TERRITORIES WITH THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA 
AFTER A CLEARLY DEFINED TRANSITIONAL PERIOD.  IT ALSO PROTECTS THE HUMAN 
RIGHTS OF ALL RESIDENTS, INCLUDING THE LOCAL SERB POPULATION, WHILE 
PROVIDING FOR THE RETURN OF REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS. 
 
EASTERN SLAVONIA HAS BEEN THE SCENE OF HORRIBLE ABUSES OF HUMAN RIGHTS.  
STRICT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT WILL LEAD TO A PEACEFUL SOLUTION 
IN WHICH HUMAN RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED, AND THE PEOPLE OF THE REGION ARE 
ALLOWED TO CHOSE THEIR LEADERS THROUGH FREE AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS.  
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IS PREPARED TO DO ITS PART TO HELP IMPLEMENT 
THE AGREEMENT.  BUT, IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS IT WILL BE UP TO THE PARTIES 
TO PUT ASIDE THE HATREDS OF THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND TOGETHER BEGIN TO 
BUILD A NEW FUTURE. 
 
THE RESOLUTION WE HAVE JUST ADOPTED ESTABLISHES A NEW PEACEKEEPING 
OPERATION THAT WILL ASSIST IN THE DEMILITARIZATION OF THE REGION, 
FACILITATE ITS RETURN TO CROATIAN CONTROL, AND HELP PROMOTE A RETURN TO 
NORMAL LIFE.  AS REQUESTED BY THE PARTIES, ITS MANDATE ENSURES THAT THE 
NEW OPERATION, UNTAES, WILL BE ABLE TO "GOVERN" THE REGION IN AN 
AUTHORITATIVE FASHION.  THE PARTIES HAVE CLEARLY EXPRESSED THEIR 
INTENTION TO ENTRUST THE REGION'S SHORT-TERM FUTURE TO OUR LEADERSHIP.  
THE RESOLUTION WE ARE NOW ADOPTING PROVIDES US WITH THE MEANS TO REWARD 
THEIR TRUST WITH THE KIND OF STEWARDSHIP THAT THE REGION AND ITS PEOPLE 
DESERVE. 
 
IN AGREEING TO UNDERTAKE THIS COMPLEX RESPONSIBILITY, THE INTERNATIONAL 
COMMUNITY WILL DEMAND THAT BOTH THE SERB AND CROAT SIDES FULLY IMPLEMENT 
THE NOVEMBER 12 AGREEMENT.  UNTAES WILL NOT BE EXPECTED TO IMPLEMENT THE 
AGREEMENT BY FORCE, NOR WILL IT BE EXPECTED TO DEFEND THE REGION FROM AN 
ARMED INCURSION.  THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WILL NOT TOLERATE ACTIONS 
THAT ENDANGER THE LIVES OF THE PEACEKEEPERS WE ARE SENDING TO THE 
REGION.  ANYONE CONTEMPLATING SUCH ACTIONS SHOULD THINK TWICE.  THE 
MEANING OF PARAGRAPH 14 OF THE RESOLUTION WE HAVE JUST ADOPTED IS CLEAR 
-- UNTAES WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR ASSISTANCE IF ITS PERSONNEL ARE 
IN DANGER.  IFOR'S PRESENCE JUST ACROSS THE BORDER IN BOSNIA, AND THE 
PRESENCE OF OTHER POWERFUL MILITARY FORCES NEARBY, SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR 
THAT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS THE CAPABILITY TO PUNISH ANYONE WHO 
ENDANGERS THE LIVES OF UNTAES PERSONNEL.  FURTHER, NATO HAS ALREADY 
DECIDED TO PROVIDE CLOSE AIR SUPPORT IF REQUESTED BY UNTAES.   
 
THE SECOND RESOLUTION BEFORE US TODAY AUTHORIZES UNITED NATIONS' 
MILITARY OBSERVERS TO CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE AGREEMENT ON THE 
DEMILITARIZATION OF THE PREVLAKA PENINSULA AND SURROUNDING TERRITORY.  
MY GOVERNMENT HAS NO DOUBT THAT THE PREVLAKA PENINSULA IS SOVEREIGN 
CROATIAN TERRITORY.  NEVERTHELESS, WE CALL ON BOTH SIDES TO CONTINUE TO 
COMPLY WITH THEIR AGREEMENT TO DEMILITARIZE THAT STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT 
AREA.  WE NOTE THAT THE RESOLUTION CALLS ON THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO 
SUBMIT A REPORT BY MARCH 15 WHICH WOULD COMMENT ON THE POSSIBILITY OF 
ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION ASSUMING THE TASK OF MONITORING THE 
PREVLAKA PENINSULA.  MY GOVERNMENT LOOKS FORWARD TO THAT REPORT, AND 
EXPECTS THAT THE COUNCIL WILL ACT ON IT AS APPROPRIATE. 
 
THE ADOPTION OF THESE RESOLUTIONS CULMINATES A PERIOD OF INTENSE 
DIPLOMATIC ACTIVITY.  YET, IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF A PROCESS.  MUCH 
ESSENTIAL WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE.  WE SALUTE THOSE STATES WHO HAVE 
OFFERED TO CONTRIBUTE TO UNTAES.  AT THE REQUEST OF THE SECRETARY-
GENERAL, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, JACQUES KLEIN, WHO IS BOTH AN EXPERIENCED 
DIPLOMAT AND A GENERAL IN THE AIR FORCE RESERVE, IS POISED TO ASSUME 
LEADERSHIP OF THE OPERATION.  THE UNITED STATES WILL CONTINUE TO SEARCH 
FOR WAYS TO ASSIST THE OPERATION.   
 
IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION FOR THE RAPID 
RESPONSE THE UNITED NATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAVE MADE TO 
THIS COMPLEX AND SENSITIVE ISSUE.  THE BALKANS HAVE BEEN THE SCENE OF 
FAR TO MANY TRAGEDIES IN RECENT YEARS.  TODAY'S RESOLUTIONS ARE TWO MORE 
INDICATIONS THAT THE PEOPLES OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA MIGHT BE READY TO 
EMBRACE A FUTURE BASED ON PEACE AND RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW.  THE 
UNITED STATES REMAINS COMMITTED TO THE WORK THAT LIES AHEAD AND URGES 
ALL LIKE-MINDED STATES TO JOIN IN THAT EFFORT. 
 
THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. 
To the top of this page