Zagreb and Belgrade making progress on disputed Prevlaka peninsula, Annan reports
The Yugoslav and Croatian authorities are making progress in resolving their long-standing dispute over the strategic Prevlaka peninsula, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report, which predicts that the UN peacekeeping presence in the area may soon be unnecessary.
“It is my assessment that the closure of another chapter in the tumultuous recent history of the Balkans is within reach, and that Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are about to take another step towards normal, good-neighbourly relations,” Mr. Annan writes in his report to the Security Council on the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP). “The parties are working in good faith with a determination to reach an interim agreement aimed at normalizing the situation on the ground at the earliest.”
Both Zagreb and Belgrade, he adds, “share a common approach on key aspects of such an agreement.”
Voicing confidence that “in the near future” the parties will be able to narrow their remaining differences to the point where UNMOP is no longer needed, the Secretary-General recommends only a two-month extension of the Mission’s mandate, until 15 December.
If the parties reach an agreement during that period, he pledges to “revert to the Security Council without delay with a view to shortening this time frame.”
The Council is scheduled to consider the report on Thursday.
UNMOP was established in February 1996, but UN military observers had been deployed in Prevlaka since October 1992, initially as part of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and later with the UN Confidence Restoration Operation (UNCRO).