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Annan urges end to security violations in Prevlaka and resumption of peace talks

Annan urges end to security violations in Prevlaka and resumption of peace talks

Despite an absence of significant incidents in Prevlaka over the past three months, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia "unfortunately did not take advantage of the prevailing calm" to move towards a political settlement of their dispute, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report issued today at UN Headquarters in New York.

In his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP), the Secretary-General says the fact that UN-monitored zones in the peninsula remained free of significant incidents over the past three months was "encouraging."

The report notes however that the "continuing long-standing violations" of the established security regime in Prevlaka are not conducive to building confidence between the two countries.

"It is incumbent upon the parties to resume their discussions with the aim of reaching a negotiated solution," the Secretary-General says, noting that UN mechanisms for building confidence and reaching a peaceful settlement remain at the disposal of both sides.

The report flags the presence of Croatian Special Police and Montenegrin Border Police in the UN-controlled zone and the continued operation of the checkpoints at Cape Kobila as violations of the security regime, and says such activities interfered with the free movement of UN military observers.

According to the report, Croatian and Montenegrin police forces should be withdrawn and the checkpoints either removed or their continued operation legitimized through a mutual agreement between the parties. Croatian authorities should also lift their restrictions on the movement of UN military observers and permit them unconditional access to all areas of the demilitarized zone.

UNMOP was established in January 1996 to take over from the UN Confidence Restoration Operation the task of monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula, a strategic area disputed by Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.