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U.N. Chief Says U.N. Observers To Go Soon To Afghanistan With AM-Afghanistan, Bjt

April 27, 1988

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar announced Tuesday that U.N. observers will be deployed soon to monitor withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and a political settlement.

From 40 to 50 U.N. military observers are required under the Afghan agreement signed in Geneva April 14. The nine countaries named in the provisional list to provide observers are Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, Nepal, New Zealand, Poland and Sweden.

The estimated 115,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan will begin withdrawing on May 15, according to the Kremlin.

Perez de Cuellar told a news conference the Security Council had authorized him to proceed with the U.N. mission. ″Our operation will be very much on in the next few days,″ he said.

He said Undersecretary-General Diego Cordovez of Ecuador will be his special representative on the settlement in Afghanistan.

The secretary-general’s envoy negotiated the agreement with Pakistan and Afghanistan after acting as mediator for nearly seven years.

Afghan guerrilla leaders were not involved directly in the Geneva negotiations and rejected the pact, vowing continued warfare. The accords were signed by Afghanistan, Pakistan, America and the Soviet Union.

Assisting Cordovez will be Maj. Gen. Rauli Helminen of Finland who now is in Islamabad, Pakistan, with Swedish aides. Cordovez also will be aided by Benon Vahe Sevan of Cyprus as director and senior political adviser.

Besides military observers, the Afghan settlement calls for a small civilian staff. The members will be divided into two inspection teams in Islamabad and Kabul, the Afghan capital.

They are to monitor the Soviet troop withdrawal, provisions for return of Afghan refugees and other aspects of the Geneva agreements.

The U.N. chief told reporters the composition of the observer team was under discussion and would be announced after Security Council approval.

Diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Soviet Union and the United States were debating the composition from the East bloc and the West. They said the Soviets questioned the participation of Denmark, Ireland and Canada and sought greater representation from communist countries.

Perez de Cuellar was asked how a small observer team of 40 to 50 men in the two capitals could successfully monitor the mass movement of men and refugees without passports across a 1,400-mile border.

″They will do their best, but they cannot go beyond their mandate,″ he said, referring to the agreement that specifies small units in the capitals of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 1960, the United Nations sent 20,000 peacekeepers to the Congo when Belgian troops withdrew and bloody conflicts ensued. Perez de Cuellar was asked if a small team could keep peace in Afghanistan, where many experts predict much bloodshed, factional fighting among Afghan guerrilla groups and attacks on the Afghan government.

″We will take decisions ... I can assure you that we will face it if we have the necessary support of the Security Council and member countries,″ he said. ″We have experience, but we do not want to cross that bridge until we get to it.″

Perez de Cuellar said Cordovez and his team ″will see if something is going to happen ... but it (deployment of a larger U.N. force) would be decided by the Security Council because we cannot send troops into such a situation″ without approval.