Tracking Number:  180557

Title:  "UN Launches Gulf Observer Force: UNIKOM." With the deployment of armed and unarmed military personnel in the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission, the UN is launching a major peacekeeping force to monitor a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait. (910417)

Translated Title:  "Mission d`Observation de l`ONU en Irak et au Koweit." (910417)
Date:  19910417


04/17/91 U.N. LAUNCHES GULF OBSERVER FORCE: UNIKOM (Forces expected in the gulf in two weeks) (850) By Judy Aita USIA United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- With the deployment over the next weeks of armed and unarmed military personnel in the U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), the United Nations is launching a major peace-keeping force to monitor a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait.

UNIKOM was called for by the Security Council in its formal cease-fire resolution on the gulf passed April 3 ending the successful coalition effort to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. The mission was officially authorized by the council on April 9 for an initial period of six months.

UNIKOM's assignment is to ensure that no military personnel and equipment enter the 15-kilometer wide demilitarized zone and that no military fortifications and installations are maintained. It will monitor the withdrawal of the allied forces now in the zone, operate observation posts on the main roads into and out of the zone, and conduct land and air patrols throughout the zone and the Khor Abdullah waterway.

The force's chief military observer is Major-General Gunther G. Greindl of Austria, who will report directly to U.N. Secretary General Perez de Cuellar. Greindl will command a group of 1,440, including 300 unarmed military observers, an infantry contingent of approximately 680 soldiers and officers, and support personnel and equipment from 36 countries.

The infantry will be drawn from the existing U.N. peace- keeping operations in the region to provide security for the observers during the set-up phase. The force also will include a field engineer unit to clear mines and unexploded ordnance in the demilitarized zone; an air unit of fixed wing aircraft and light helicopters; a logistic unit responsible for medical care, supply, and transport; and a headquarters unit.

Within a month Greindl is to report whether he feels there is a continuing need for the infantry unit. If so, the secretary general said he will recommend the assignment of one or more battalions on a more permanent basis.

Nevertheless, UNIKOM personnel -- as is the case in all U.N. peace-keeping missions -- may use force only in self- defense. They are not authorized to physically prevent

GE 2 POL303 military forces or equipment from entering the demilitarized zone. They will carry only light side arms and will wear the uniforms of their country, as well as the traditional blue beret or blue helmet of the United Nations.

Nor will UNIKOM assume responsibilities belonging to the two governments, such as civilian administration or the maintenance of law and order. UNIKOM will not interfere in the normal civilian life of the zone.

Military personnel and logistic support for UNIKOM are being provided by Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Britain, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, the Soviet Union, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The United Nations estimates that UNIKOM will cost about $83 million for the first six months and $40 million for the following six-month period. U.N. members will be assessed to finance the force and the secretary general is calling for additional voluntary contributions.

UNIKOM will monitor the Khor Abdullah waterway between Iraq and Kuwait and a largely barren and uninhabited demilitarized zone extending 10 kilometers into Iraq and 5 kilometers into Kuwait, based on the 200-kilometer border established in a 1963 agreement between the two countries. Headquartered in Umm Qasr, Iraq, it will have liaison offices in Baghdad and Kuwait City.

Iraq and Kuwait have been asked to allow UNIKOM forces full freedom of land and air movement across their borders and throughout the demilitarized zone. The two countries have also been asked to route all traffic into and out of the zone past U.N. observation posts and to notify UNIKOM in advance of sea and air traffic in the zone and Khor Abdullah. The two countries must also set limits on the right of their citizens to carry weapons in the demilitarized zone.

Peace-keeping as a concept is not specifically described in the U.N. Charter but has evolved over the years as an internationally acceptable way of controlling conflicts and promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes. Essentially, U.N. peace-keeping operations are provisional measures which the organization uses to contain the hostilities, create the climate, buy time and promote the minimum goodwill needed to settle the underlying conflict through negotiations. U.N. peace-keeping received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.

GE 3 POL303 The first strictly observer mission launched by the U.N., with no armed forces to support it, is still in existence - - the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). It was established in 1948 to monitor cease-fire and armistice agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The first peace-keeping force was the U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF) near the Egypt-Israel border in 1956, which was withdrawn on the eve of the 1967 Arab-Israel war. The largest one was the U.N. Operation in the Congo (ONUC) which numbered 20,000 at its peak in 1961 but was down to 5,800 when it was disbanded in 1964.

Other peace-keeping operations have included: the U.N. Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) set up in 1949; the U.N. Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) set up in 1964; the U.N. India-Pakistan Observer Mission (UNIPOM) from 1965-66; the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stationed on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria since 1974; the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon since 1978; and the U.N. Iran-Iraq Military Observer group (UNIIMOG) from 1988 to February 1991. NNNN

File Identification:  04/17/91, PO-303; 04/17/91, AE-307; 04/17/91, AR-336; 04/17/91, EP-313; 04/17/91, EU-303; 04/17/91, NE-307; 04/19/91, AF-508
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  French
Thematic Codes:  1UN; 1NE
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  180557; 180888