History Timeline 1990's

President Bush with Gulf War troops. Courtesy National Archives. Right: New York Stock Exchange in 1921 by Irving Underhill, Courtesy Library of Congress.

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U.S. Timeline - The 1990s

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  • Timeline

  • 1991 - Detail

    November 27, 1991 - The United Nations Security Council unanimously votes to adopt Resolution 721, which would lead the way to establishing peacekeeping forces in Yugoslavia. Three months later, another resolution would approve a peacekeeping force be sent.

    Croatia Embassy and Cyrus Vance

    Fighting in Yugoslavia had been ongoing since the departure to independence from Yugoslavia of Croatia and Slovenia in June 1991. It had been especially strong in the Republic of Croatia, as not all residents of the region approved. That was true of Serbs who resided in Croatia; they had the support of the JNA, otherwise known as th Yugoslav People's Army.

    A Conference on Yugoslavia was held by the European Community, but had failed to end hostilities. On September 25, 1991, the United Nations became involved, passing its first Resolution on the crises, Resolution 713, that placed an embargo on weapons being sent into the conflict area and offered the services of the Secretary-General to seek peace.

    Cyrus Vance, former United States Secretary of State, became the personal envoy of the Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar in October, and held talks with all parties. The solution, it seemed, that a peace-keeping force would best serve the purposes of halting the fighting while peace talks went forward.

    Vance convened a meeting in Geneva on November 23, 1991, with the Presidents of Serbia and Croatia, plus the Secretary of State for National Defense of Yugoslavia and Lord Carrington. The parties agreed to an immediate cease-fire and establishment of a United Nations peace-keeping force. Unfortunately, the cease-fire did not hold.

    The Security Council, responding to the positives and negatives of the Geneva Conference, unanimously approved Resolution 721 on November 27, 1991. It stated that full compliance to the Geneva agreement must be held. Over the next few weeks, compliance began to improve. By December 15, 1991, the Security Council had passed Resolution 724, which approved the Secretary-General's report of a possible peace-keeping force. They would send a small group of officers and staff to Yugoslavia to prepare plans for its implementation.

    While the cease-fire waned, it did not stop, and despite wide support for the peace-keeping force within Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, conditions were not yet ready for its implementation. Over the next several months, the United Nations would pass additional resolutions, including Resolution 740 in February, that brought the force closer to full implementation.

    However, it took until February of 1992 for the United Nations Protection Force to be established for an initial period of twelve months. On April 7, 1992, the Security Council approved full deployment of the Force.

    The force would remain in the region until 1995, and grow to thirty-eight thousand men. There were troops from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    It would lead, through fits and starts, to the end of the nation of Yugoslavia, and independent republics within the former state. Eventually, there would be seven, as of 2022; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo (still not fully recognized), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

    United Nations Resolution 721

    Resolution 721 (1991) of 27 November 1991.

    The Security Council,
    Reaffinning its resolution 713 ( 1991) of 25 Scptember 1991,

    Considering the request by the Government of Yugoslavia for the establishment of a peaoe-koeping operation in Yugoslavia, as conveyed in the Ietter of 26 November 1991 from the Permanent Representative of Yugoslavia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council,

    Deeply concerned by the fighting in Yugoslavia and by the serious violations of earlier cease-fire agreements, which have caused heavy Joss of human life and widespread material damage, and by the consequences for the countries of the region,

    Noting that the continuation and aggravation of this situation constitute a threat to international peace and security,

    Considering also the letter of 24 November 1991 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council on the mission of his Personal Envoy to Yugoslavia and the annexed agreement signed in Geneva on 23 November 1991,

    Considering further the fact, as conveyed in the above-mentioned letter of the Secretary-General, that each one of the Yugoslav participants in the meeting with his Personal Envoy stated that they wanted to see the deployment of a United Nations peace-keeping operation as soon as possible.

    1. Approves the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, and expresses the hope that they wiil pursue their contacts with the Yugoslav parties as rapidly as possible so that the Secretary-General can present early recommendations to the Security Council including for the possible establishment of a United Nations peace-keeping operation in Yugoslavia;

    2. Endorses the statement made by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to the parties that the deployment of a United Nations peace-keeping operation cannot be envisaged without, inter alia, full compliance by all parties with the agreement signed in Geneva on 23 November 1991 and annexed to the Letter of the Secretary-General of 24 November, 1991.

    3. Strongly urges the Yugoslav parties to comply fully with that agreement;

    4. Undertakes to examine the reoommendations of the Secretary-General mentioned above and take appropriate action without delay upon them, including in particular any reoommendation for the possible establishment of a United Nations peace-keeping operation in Yugoslavia;

    5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter until a peaceful solution is achieved.

    Adopted unanimously at the 3018 meeting.

    United Nations Resolution 740

    Resolution 740 (1992) or 7 February 1992

    The Security Council,

    Reaffirming its resolutions 713 (1991) of 25 September 1991, 721 (1991) of 27 November 1991, 724 (1991) of 15 December 1991 and 727 (1992) of 8 January 1992,

    Taking note of the further report of the Secretary-General of 4 February 1992 submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 721 (1991) and welcoming his report that the ceasefire bas been generally observed thus removing one of the obstacles to the deployment of a peace-keeping operation,

    Noting that the letter from President Franjo Tudjman of 6 February 1992, in which he accepts fully and unconditionally the Secretary-General's concept and plan, which defines the conditions and areas where the United Nations forces would be deployed, removes a further obstacle in that respect,

    Also noting that the implementation of the United Nations peace-keeping plan contained in the report of the Secretary-General of 11 December 1991 will facilitate the task of the Conference on Yugoslavia in reaching a political settlement,

    Recalling its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security.

    Recalling also the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter,

    Expressing concem at the indications that the arms embargo established by the Council in resolution 713 (1991) is not being fully observed, as noted in paragraph 21 of the report of the Secretary-General,

    1. Reaffirms its approval set out in resolution 724 (1991) of the United Nations peace-keeping plan contained in the report of the Secretary-Gcneral of 11 December 1991;

    2. Welcomes the continuing efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy for Yugoslavia to remove the remaining obstacle in the way of the deployment of a peacekeeping operation;

    3. Approves the proposal by the Secretary-General to increase the authorized strength of the military liaison mission to a total of seventy-five officers;

    4. Requests the Secretary-General to expedite bis preparations for a United Nations peace-keeping operation so as to be prepared to deploy immcdiately after the Council decides to do so;

    5. Expresses its concem that the United Nations peacekeeping plan has not yet been fully and unconditionally accepted by ail in Yugoslavia on whose cooperation its success depends;

    6. Calls upon all States to continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure that the Yugoslav parties implement their unqualified acceptance of the United Nations peace-keeping plan. fulfil their commitments in good faith and cooperate fully with the Secretary-General:

    7. Calls upon the Yugoslav parties to cooperate fully with the Conference on Yugoslavia in its aim of reaching a political settlement consistent with the principles of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and reaffirms that the United Nations peace-keeping plan and its implementation is in no way intended to prejudge the terms of a political settlement;

    8. Also calls upon all States to cooperate fully with the Security Council Committee established by resolution 724 (1991) concerning Yugoslavia, including reporting any information brought to their attention conceming violations of the embargo;

    9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter until a peaceful solution is achieved.

    Adopted unanimously at the 3049th meeting.

    Photo above: Montage (left); Croatia embassy with Statue of Saint Jerome the Priest in Washington, D.C., 2010, Carol M. Highsmith. Courtesy Library of Congress; (right) Cyrus Vance as Secretary of State, unknown date or author, U.S. Government. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: Destroyed Yugoslav Army T-55 tank by Croatian forces, Battle of the Barracks, circa 1991, Kos93. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Info source: United Nations Digital Library; peacekeeping.un.org; Wikipedia Commons.

    Croatia fighting Yugoslavia forces

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