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Annan hails Belgrade-Zagreb accord on strategic Prevlaka peninsula

Annan hails Belgrade-Zagreb accord on strategic Prevlaka peninsula

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the signing of an agreement by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia on the Prevlaka peninsula, a strategic area long the subject of dispute between the two countries.

In a statement released through his spokesman, the Secretary-General said the Protocol on the Interim Regime along the Southern Border between the Two States constitutes "another encouraging step towards normal, good-neighbourly relations."

The agreement paves the way for the termination of the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) when its mandate expires in five days. "For ten years, UNMOP has monitored the demilitarization of the peninsula and thereby contributed to insulating it from tensions created by hostilities nearby," the statement said.

The spokesman noted that UN observers can now leave the area "in the full confidence that their mission has been successfully accomplished," adding that UNMOP "has demonstrated that even a small UN presence, properly conceived and executed, can make a positive difference."

UN observers have been deployed in Prevlaka since 1992, as part of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and later the UN Confidence Restoration Operation (UNCRO). By February 1996, UNMOP was established as an independent mission with the mandate to continue monitoring the demilitarization of the Prevlaka peninsula.