June 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2013
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AFRICA

Mali/Sahel

Expected Council Action

In June, the Council expects to be briefed by Albert Koenders, the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Koenders is expected to brief on the security situation in MINUSMA’s area of responsibility as requested in resolution 2100.  The briefing will be followed by consultations.

Koenders will likely also brief on the Secretary-General’s report assessing ongoing major combat operations by international military forces in MINUSMA’s area of responsibility and vicinity, as well as the capacity of terrorist forces to pose a major threat to the civilian population and international personnel in Mali. Based on this assessment, the Council will decide if the transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) to MINUSMA will proceed on 1 July or be deferred.

The Council also expects to be briefed by Special Envoy Romano Prodi on the Secretary-General’s report on the Sahel, to be followed by consultations. The much delayed and anticipated UN integrated strategy for the Sahel, requested by the Council in resolution 2056 of 5 July 2012, will be annexed to the report.

MINUSMA’s mandate expires on 30 June 2014.

Key Recent Developments

The security situation in the north of Mali continues to be fragile, in particular in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal, where combat operations are still ongoing and there have been several suicide terrorist attacks. Local press has reported attacks from the Mouvement pour l’Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest and, to a lesser extent, Ansar Eddine. The targets are mainly the Malian army and AFISMA troops but have also included the Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA), and there has been at least one attack against an NGO while it was distributing humanitarian aid. Local press also reports on the regrouping of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in other countries of the region.

The interim government of Mali appointed on 2 May a governor for the Kidal region, the only region where the state still does not have control over the territory, as it is ruled by the MNLA. Also on 2 May, various Touareg chiefs in Kidal formed the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), whose stated purpose is to negotiate a political solution with the interim government. Intalla Ag Attaher, who is the influential amenokal (traditional chief) of the Touareg Kel Adagh confederation, will be its president. His son, Alghabass Ag Intalla, the leader of the Mouvement Islamique de l’Azawad (MIA), announced on 19 May the dissolution of the MIA to join the HCUA. (The MIA, which had been ruling Kidal with the MNLA, split from Ansar Eddine in January, condemning and rejecting “any form of extremism and terrorism”. Intalla had formerly been a leader of Ansar Eddine, heading the delegation that took part in the preliminary peace talks brokered by President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso in November 2012 in Ouagadougou.)

Although Prime Minister Diango Cissoko established a deadline of 15 May for the state to resume authority over Kidal, this had not happened at press time, and the governor has not been able to take office. On 13 May, the interim government appointed Tiébilé Dramé as special envoy to coordinate talks with northern groups.

On 14 May, the interim President Dioncounda Traoré announced that presidential elections will take place on 28 July. He also declared that no member of the interim government would run for office.

On 15 May, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, President François Hollande of France and Traoré met in Brussels to convene a high-level donor conference for development in Mali. The conference’s aim was to garner the support of the international community for the Sustainable Recovery Plan for Mali (PRED) for 2013-2014. On the basis of the 12 immediate development priorities identified by the PRED, the donors have pledged €3.25 billion in the next two years. (The previous donor conference was hosted by the AU in Addis Ababa and raised $455 million.)

The Mali Commission of Dialogue and Reconciliation, composed of a chair, two vice-chairs and 30 commissioners, whose creation was included in the roadmap for the transition unanimously adopted by the national parliament on 29 January, was sworn in on 25 April and has started its work by meeting with regional organisations and the UN, as well as other stakeholders.

In resolution 2056 the Council asked the Secretary-General to develop and implement, in consultation with regional organisations, a UN integrated strategy for the Sahel region encompassing security, governance, development, human rights and humanitarian issues. On 9 October 2012, Prodi was appointed as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel, responsible mainly for the development of this strategy.

In a 10 December 2012 presidential statement, the Council encouraged the Special Envoy “to pursue his efforts in order to coordinate bilateral, inter-regional and international response and support for the Sahel region and to engage constructively with other representatives from regional and subregional organisations, bilateral partners and countries of the region” (S/PRST/2012/26). The Council stressed the importance of a “coherent, comprehensive and coordinated approach by all UN entities involved in the Sahel region and their cooperation with one another with a view of maximizing synergies”.

Human Rights-Related Developments

The Human Rights Council (HRC) in resolution 22/18 of 21 March established a mandate for an independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali. The expert will be appointed during the 23rd session of the HRC (27 May-14 June). During the session, the HRC will also consider the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Mali (A/HRC/23/57).

The HRC will also consider the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Mali. On 25 January, the HRC working group on the UPR adopted a report on Mali following the 22 January review. Among the 12 recommendations formulated during the interactive dialogue that Mali supported was one that called on Mali to take all measures needed to ensure that operations aimed at tackling terrorism and restoring sovereignty over its whole territory are undertaken with a strict respect for international humanitarian law while making sure that full protection is extended to the civilian population. Another one called for Mali to continue to work to improve the human rights situation, including in northern Mali (A/HRC/23/6). Mali considered that another 85 recommendations—including cooperating with all HRC special procedures mandate-holders, guaranteeing the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by the defence and security forces and identifying and prosecuting perpetrators of serious violations of human rights—were already implemented or in the process of implementation. Mali was also due to provide responses on a further 27 recommendations no later than the 23rd HRC session.

Key Issues

A key overarching issue is to stabilise the security situation in northern Mali.

The feasibility of holding elections on 28 July and the fulfilment of MINUSMA’s electoral assistance mandate is a key immediate issue. Related to this is the fact that some of the commitments pledged at the 15 May donor conference are tied to the holding of elections. A further issue in the context of the electoral process is the lack of state authority in the Kidal region.

Ensuring that AFISMA has adequate financial and logistical support to fulfil its mandate until the transfer of authority to MINUSMA is another key issue.

A related issue will be to sustain and strengthen cooperation between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the AU with the UN in order to build upon already existing processes.

Ensuring that all AFISMA troops operate within the UN human rights due-diligence policy is a further related issue.

Another key issue will be to ensure that the combat operations led by France remain independent of MINUSMA.

Addressing the potentially destabilising spill-over effects from Mali on an already fragile region will be an ongoing issue.

Options

After the assessment of the security situation in Mali, immediate options for the Council include:

  • authorising the transfer of authority from AFISMA to MINUSMA by 1 July, as envisaged in resolution 2100, or deferring such a decision until certain security conditions on the ground have been met;
  • establishing an expert group to identify those involved in transnational organised crime in Mali and the Sahel, with the possibility of imposing targeted sanctions, as recommended in the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2013/189); and
  • making full use of the 1566 Working Group, which is mandated to examine practical measures that could be  imposed upon individuals, groups or entities involved in or associated with terrorist activities, other than those designated by the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.
Council and Wider Dynamics

Although Council members were rather unified in the process leading to the adoption of resolution 2100, divergences around the timing of the deployment of MINUSMA were important. France and some other members had wanted 1 July to be a firm date for the transfer of authority from AFISMA to MINUSMA, whereas Russia and others preferred to receive a clearer assessment of the situation on the ground and have a benchmark-driven process before deploying MINUSMA. As the Council decides in June on MINUSMA’s deployment, these divergences might come up again.

During the negotiations, views also differed on the kind of actions MINUSMA was assigned to undertake, how proactive it should be and on the limits on its mandate. These issues may come up again as the Council discusses the security conditions in which the transfer of authority is to take place.

Council members have had high expectations regarding the Secretary-General’s report on the Sahel and the annexed integrated UN strategy. As the report has gone through several drafts over the last eleven months, most members have expressed some degree of frustration regarding the delays in its presentation during a critical time for the region.

The process that led to resolution 2100 increased tensions between the Council and the AU and ECOWAS over some issues. Following the adoption of the resolution, an AU Peace and Security Council communiqué noted “with concern that Africa was not appropriately consulted in the drafting and consultation process”. Demands made by African stakeholders—such as authorising a peace enforcement mandate for MINUSMA, providing a logistical and financial support package to AFISMA or ensuring the continuity of AFISMA’s leadership in MINUSMA—were disregarded by the UN Secretariat and Council members. (In a letter sent to the Secretary-General on 19 April, the president of ECOWAS and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security were keen to ensure that the resolution incorporated the contributions of both organisations [S/2013/265]. The letter noted how “the ‘division of labour’ being contemplated in the draft resolution may result in restricting the effective contribution of the African component to the fight against terrorism” and asked Council members to “reconsider the role of the two organizations, as well as the envisaged cooperation mechanism between them and MINUSMA, in the envisaged resolution, based on the principles of subsidiarity and comparative advantage”. The letter was officially circulated among Council members once the resolution had been adopted.)

On their part, several Council members have noted how the requirement in resolution 2085 calling for the AU and ECOWAS to report to the Council on the deployment and activities of AFISMA every 60 days has not been respected, nor has the Council received any letter asking for a deferral for the submission of such reports.

France is the penholder on Mali.

UN DOCUMENTS ON MALI
Security Council Resolutions
25 April 2013 S/RES/2100 This resolution established the mandate for MINUSMA.
20 December 2012 S/RES/2085 This resolution authorised the deployment of AFISMA for an initial period of one year.
5 July 2012 S/RES/2056 This resolution expressed the Council’s full support for the joint efforts of ECOWAS, the AU and the transitional authorities in Mali trying to re-establish constitutionality and territorial integrity.
Security Council Letters
13 May 2013 S/2013/285 this was from the Secretary-General regarding the appointment of Albert Koenders as his Special Representative in Mali and Head of MINUSMA.
6 May 2013 S/2013/276 This was a letter from the Secretary-General asking for a deferral for the submission of the report on the situation in the Sahel until 14 June 2013.
3 May 2013 S/2013/265 Included a letter from the President of ECOWAS and the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security about the envisaged cooperation between the AU, ECOWAS and MINUSMA.
Secretary-General’s Reports
26 March 2013 S/2013/189 This report contained the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a UN mission in Mali.

 

OTHER RELEVANT FACTS

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSMA
Albert Gerard Koenders (Netherlands)