Operation JOINT GUARANTOR
International Operation Name: Operation JOINT GUARANTOR
International Mission Name: Operation JOINT GUARANTOR
Mandating Organization: United Nations
Region Name: Europe
Mission Date: 11 November 1998 - 24 March 1999
Mission Mandate: On order, to conduct an extraction of OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) Verifiers and / or persons with designated special status in Kososvo in order to assure their safety.
Supported by UNSCR 1199, and 1203 Chapter VII
Mission/Operation Notes: The summer of 1998 was witness to open hostilities between Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) forces, and the underground Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). A “scorch the earth” policy implemented by Serbian Interior Ministry of Police (MUP) forces, along with repeated “security” operations conducted by FRY forces, eventually led the United Nations to call for an end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo. In support of this position, on 23 September the United Nations passed UNSCR 1199, and sent US special envoy Richard Holbrooke to negotiate with President Milosevic to ensure compliance with the resolution.
On 15 October, following nine days of intense negotiations, both parties agreed to a cease-fire and a two-pronged approach to monitoring the situation. In accordance with the agreement, NATO was to conduct unarmed flights over the region (NATO Op EAGLE EYE)(Op KAYAK), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would establish a Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM)(Op KIMONO) to observe compliance on the ground. The UN Security Council endorsed the establishment of these two missions when on 24 October 1998 it passed resolution 1203.
The NATO Alliance, in support of these operations, established a special military task force to assist with the emergency evacuation of members of the KVM should renewed conflict put them at risk. This force was primarily composed of European NATO Allies with France as the lead nation. The headquarters and standing elements of this force were stationed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and consisted of approximately 2,300 personnel under the Operation name of JOINT GUARANTOR.
Despite the KVM presence, the opposing forces remained openly hostile with the violence continuing to escalate through December and January. In February 1999 in an attempt to bring the situation under control, Kosovo and Serb negotiators were brought to Rambouillet, France in an attempt to hammer out a peace agreement. Although the Kosovars eventually accepted terms, FRY President Milosevic refused to accept the agreement and continued to pour troops and weapons into the province. NATO for its part continued to threaten air strikes if both parties did not sign. The Kosovars relented and agreed, but Milosevic refused resulting in the international community ordering all KVM monitors out of Kosovo on 20 March. On 24 March, following a last ditch effort to reach agreement that met with failure, NATO launched operation ALLIED FORCE and began directed air strikes against the FRY forces.
The failure of the KVM to achieve its mandate, compounded by the lack of cooperation exhibited by the FRY forces, led to the complete withdrawal of KVM personnel. With KVM personnel no longer in danger, Operation JOINT GUARANTOR, and thus Operation GUARANTOR came to a close on 24 March 1999.
Canadian Forces (CF) Information (GUARANTOR)
CF Mission/Operation Notes: The Canadian contingent assigned to the extraction force operated under the Canadian operation name of Op GUARANTOR. The team consisted of an airfield engineering flight of 47 people, a 10-person medical/dental element, and five headquarters personnel. The first Canadian troops to deploy were the ten-man advance team who arrived in theatre 11 December 1998 to perform a recce and prepare the ground for the remainder of the force who followed by 22 December. Stationed in the city of Kumanovo, the Canadians worked on the construction and renovation of the local NATO installation and provided medical, dental and staff support.
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