Annan recommends ending UN observer mission along IraqKuwait border

“From April 1991 to mid-March 2003, UNIKOM (UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission) was a successful and in many ways a model United Nations peacekeeping operation,” Mr. Annan says in a report to the Security Council on the mission, which was created to deter violations and report on hostile action along the border.Taking note of the end of hostilities and of Council resolution 1483 of last month, which recognized the United States-run coalition authority as the interim administration and appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, he says: “I recommend that the residual peacekeeping presence of UNIKOM be maintained for a final three months, until 6 October 2003, when the Mission would be closed.”During that period UNIKOM would scale down its military presence, continue to provide support to humanitarian assistance operations in Iraq, liquidate its assets and “most importantly make appropriate arrangements for handing over its activities in assistance of humanitarian operations to other entities remaining in the area,” he adds.Mr. Annan withdrew the bulk of UNIKOM on the eve of hostilities in March but maintained a small logistics headquarters in Kuwait City. Since the end of the fighting, UNIKOM has been supporting other UN activities. As of 31 May, UNIKOM’s overall strength was 154 people, consisting of 11 military observers and 143 civilian staff, 45 of them recruited internationally and 98 locally, under the command of Polish General Franciszek Gagor.The Secretary-General notes that Kuwait has requested the maintenance of UNIKOM until the situation becomes clearer and peace and security are restored to the area.He also reports that most of UNIKOM property and premises on the Iraqi side of the demilitarized zone were totally destroyed or stolen during or soon after the conflict and that the mission headquarters at Um Qasr was largely demolished, apparently by looting before or during the hostilities. read more