Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 197

Over the weekend the UN Security Council approved a resolution endorsing the October 13 Kosovo peace agreement and paving the way for air and ground monitoring to ensure compliance with the peace accord. The resolution, approved on October 24, also contains some mildly worded language of enforcement aimed at providing protection for the international monitors. Approval of the resolution followed nearly a week of intensive negotiations which focused primarily on overcoming Russian and Chinese objections to any language that might provide a mandate for NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia.

In the end, that language was significantly weakened. A draft resolution submitted earlier to the council had contained references authorizing international organizations to take “appropriate steps” to ensure that the October 13 peace agreement–which calls for a full withdrawal of Serbian and Yugoslav forces from Kosovo–is enforced. The earlier draft had also reportedly granted OSCE and NATO member countries the right to intervene to “ensure the freedom of movement and safety” of international verification missions.

The final resolution did affirm, however, that “in the event of an emergency, action may be needed to ensure [the monitors’] safety.” It also said that “relevant equipment for the sole use of the verifications missions” is to be exempted from the arms embargo on Yugoslavia. The NATO countries claim that the resolution therefore strengthens their position that the alliance has authority to use military power to enforce the agreement and protect the monitors. Russian officials, who have repeatedly stonewalled efforts to win approval for NATO military action in Yugoslavia, insisted over the weekend that the resolution carries no enforcement provisions. Moscow has also opposed proposals to make NATO troops responsible for the safety of the international monitors, arguing that Belgrade would answer for their security.