February 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 January 2006
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Expected Council Action
The Council will take an increasingly active interest in the AU/UN discussions on a future role for the UN in Darfur following:

  • the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on 12 January to approve in principle a transition from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to the UN, “within the framework of the partnership between the AU and the UN”. The final decision will be taken later in March; and
  • the confirmation by the Secretary-General after his lunch meeting with the Council on the same day that the Secretariat will be preparing contingency plans.

Initially, this Council action will be informal as the UN and AU Secretariats continue detailed discussions on the arrangements for such a transition.

At the time of writing, the Sudan Sanctions Committee was still divided on the issue of transmitting to the Council the report of its Panel of Experts. It is expected that discussions about the preparation of a list of individuals who should be subjected to targeted sanctions will continue, but at a deliberate pace bearing in mind the potential for this issue to be used as an incentive or deterrent vis-à-vis Khartoum as the transition discussions move forward.

Key Facts
Discussions on a UN role in peacekeeping in Darfur have accelerated over the past several weeks. This has been prompted by increasing concern from the donors supporting AMIS that a more robust presence is required for responding to the difficulties that the AU mission continues to encounter.

The Secretary-General has noted that the UN cannot deploy additional forces immediately. Accordingly, AMIS would need to continue with something like its current configuration for three to six months.

The PSC has approved the extension of the AMIS mandate until 31 March, when it will adopt a final decision on the transition. But current levels of funding will be exhausted by that point. Accordingly, additional funding will be required during the transition to any newly configured force, and a pledging conference is being organised by the AU and UN for this purpose.

Sudan lost its bid to chair the AU in 2006 at the AU Summit, held in Khartoum on January 23-24. Amidst concerns with the credibility of the organisation should Sudan take the chairmanship, Congo-Brazzaville was elected for 2006. Sudan will chair the AU in 2007.

AU-sponsored peace talks between the Sudanese government and the two main Darfur rebel groups, held in Abuja, remain deadlocked over power-sharing and security arrangements. Members of the Council have expressed exasperation with the length of the process and have urged the negotiators to ensure that the current, seventh round be the final one. The security arrangements committee in the Abuja negotiations, chaired by Chad, has been paralysed since cross-border incidents between Chad and Sudan in late December and early January.

Key Issues
There are four key and interlinked issues for the Council: political, operational, financial and institutional. All of them could be affected by developments in the Abuja peace talks, by the outcome of the discussions between the UN and the AU and by the shape of the AU’s decision in March.

The institutional issues are:

  • when the Council should act and with what level of formality;
  • whether it should wait until the Secretariat has recommendations on the technical issues;
  • whether leadership during this next phase should be assumed by the Council or left to the Secretary-General and the interested permanent members of the Council and major donors; and
  • how involved the Council should become in overseeing the UN discussions with the AU and negotiations with Khartoum.

The political issues are:

  • how the UN and the Council should respond to AU political concerns that the transition should be to a new configuration which can be seen as a partnership, not a takeover;
  • whether the Council should be prepared to support the evolving process by making an early signal of support;
  • whether the Council should let it be known that, if necessary and in cooperation with the AU, it will install the newly configured force under Chapter VII-which is likely to be needed since the Council faces the probability of needing to send troops to a situation where there is no credible ceasefire and no peace agreement to implement; and
  • whether the Council is prepared to accept that a force configured in partnership with the AU could entail some very significant innovations.

The operational issues are:

  • what kind of force will be required; the Secretary-General, for example, has spoken of the need for a specialised, highly mobile combat unit with sophisticated equipment, which was essentially a hint that Western troops will be essential;
  • how a new force will be generated and whether the Council is prepared to play a leadership role in generating the forces rather than leaving this to the Secretariat; and
  • what kind of mandate and support the mission will require-which means that cross-border issues, the UN’s role in southern Sudan (especially vis-à-vis the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), command and control, linkages with UNMIS, logistics and access all need to be addressed.

The financial issues are:

  • whether the new operation will be funded fully by assessed contributions, notwithstanding that there may be some innovative aspects needed to preserve the mission’s nature as a partnership with the AU;
  • whether the Council can encourage the donor community to commit to providing funding, at least provisionally, for AMIS during the three to six months before a transition, assuming a satisfactory transition agreement is reached; and
  • whether the donors can be sufficiently engaged in negotiations among the Council, the Secretariat and the AU so they could be confident about making such an early commitment.

Council Dynamics
Positions inside the Council are still evolving. There is increasing acknowledgement, however, that a UN role in Darfur is now essential. Members are concerned to acknowledge that the AU and AMIS have played a historic and critical role. The developments at the peace talks and the AU position, as it emerges in discussions with the UN, will both have a serious impact on the debate inside the Council. Dynamics will also be affected by Congo’s election as AU chair.

Many Council members would like to avoid a situation in which the only option is to simply to replace AMIS with UNMIS. However, there are voices in favour of relatively simple solutions such as incorporating AMIS into UNMIS or redeploying UN troops in southern Sudan to the western region of Darfur. Members are also conscious of the practical and operational difficulties of developing a new approach in such a short time. For some members, the US and Japan in particular, there will be concerns about the large impact a new force would have on the peacekeeping budget. All member states with the kinds of capacity which the Secretary-General has called for will be conscious of current strains on their forces given their commitments in other theatres. Others, such as China, which have in the past preferred to limit action to pressuring the parties to maintain the ceasefire and reach a peace agreement, are likely to be willing to agree to an extended UN role if that is what, in the end, the AU supports.

Western and Latin American members will be under increasing pressure to live up to past commitments, particularly those made at the 2005 World Summit, regarding the responsibility to protect civilians from massive human rights abuses. 

Khartoum’s views will undoubtedly have an impact on the positions of some members, China in particular.  Khartoum opposes the UN taking over the peacekeeping role in Darfur. It remains to be seen whether the AU approach of a UN-AU partnership could allow Khartoum a face-saving solution. However, most Council members seem reluctant to allow Khartoum to obstruct the proposal. Unlike in 2004-05, Sudan’s capacity to dictate outcomes is more limited. The AU has had experience on the ground and appreciates the true state of affairs. The North-South agreement is in place in Sudan, and UNMIS is up and running. Sudan’s leverage has therefore diminished.

An immediate option would be for the Council to adopt a presidential statement:

  • welcoming the AU PSC decision;
  • encouraging the Secretary-General to accelerate contingency planning;
  • expressing willingness to consider sympathetically a transition to a UN-AU partnership operation;
  • confirming that it would, if necessary, approve such an operation under Chapter VII; and
  • encouraging donors to consider follow-on funding for AMIS after 31 March and before the transition.

A second option would be for the Council to decide to send a small mission (say five members) to:

  • visit Addis Ababa together with the Secretariat planning team to work through the operational issues;
  • visit Khartoum to convey the Council’s position and initiate direct dialogue;
  • meet with donor representatives, who might participate in some meetings of the mission; and
  • provide an interim report to the Council upon return, and then continue to assist the Secretariat to develop solutions to the operational and financial issues and in its discussions with the AU.

A third option for the Council would be to:

  • apply pressure on parties to reach a credible ceasefire and a final arrangement on power and wealth-sharing within the current round in Abuja. This could involve:
    • revitalising the threat of sanctions, perhaps by signalling the intention to adopt lists of individual violators of the arms embargo and peace spoilers; and
    • sending a small Council mission along the lines of that described in option two to the Abuja talks with a view to applying leverage on the parties meeting there.

Underlying Problems
In 1983, fighting broke out between Khartoum and the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of January 2005 established the sharing of public positions and oil revenues. In March 2005, the Council created UNMIS to support the CPA and a Government of National Unity (GNU) was inaugurated in July of that same year.

Implementation of the CPA has continued, but with suspicions from the south against the north, and with the SPLM/A more focused on rebuilding the south. Key concerns are:

  • some armed groups are not participating in the process, especially those from Darfur and eastern Sudan;
  • implementing the CPA risks upsetting traditional power structures;
  • the south will be able to decide whether it desires to secede in 2011, but the north’s ability to make unity attractive remains uncertain;
  • the north still controls key ministries such as energy and defence; and
  • regional dimensions threaten the peace, especially Eritrea’s recent crisis and the activities of the LRA. 

A separate conflict emerged in Darfur in 2003, with Khartoum pitted against the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A). A shaky ceasefire was signed in April 2004 in N’Djamena, Chad, and has been monitored by AMIS.

Widespread attacks against civilians have continued since Khartoum failed to provide protection and disarm militias. The increasing insecurity has led to the disruption of humanitarian aid as government forces continued to attack in coordination with allied Janjaweed militias. Fragmentation among the rebel groups decreased their leaders’ ability to exercise command and control. Furthermore, a spill over of the violence into Chad in recent weeks has led to a military build up involving Chadian and Sudanese armed forces, as well as rebels from both sides.

In March 2005, the Council strengthened the 2004 sanctions regime for Darfur. However, the Sudan Sanctions Committee has been slow to prepare a list of individual violators and its own guidelines. The arms embargo is limited to Darfur with arms flowing easily from the rest of Sudan.

The Council referred the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2005. But Khartoum, which has established a new specialised tribunal in an attempt to circumvent ICC jurisdiction, has announced that it will not cooperate with the Court’s investigation. 

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1651 (21 December 2005) renewed the Panel of Experts mandate until 29 March 2006.
  • S/RES/1627 (23 September 2005) renewed UNMIS until 24 March 2006.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) strengthened sanctions in Darfur.
  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS.
  • S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) established an arms embargo in Darfur and requested monthly reports.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2005/67 (21 December 2005) expressed concern with the current situation, in particular the spill over effects in Chad.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2005/825 (23 December 2005) is the latest report on Darfur at the time of writing. 
  • S/2005/821 (21 December 2005) is the latest regular report on Sudan.
  • S/2005/285 (3 May 2005) reported on UNMIS’ assistance to AMIS.
  • S/2005/57 (31 January 2005) assessed risks in the CPA and proposed UNMIS.
 Other Documents
  • A/RES/60/1 (24 October 2005) is the World Summit Outcome.

Historical Background

 12 January 2006

The AU PSC announced that it accepted, “in principle,” the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur.

 10-20 December 2005 A joint AU-UN mechanism to assess AMIS visited Darfur.
 13 December 2005 The ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo briefed the Council. Khartoum declared it would not cooperate with the ICC.
 29 November 2005 The Darfur peace talks were resumed.
 October 2005 The Darfur peace talks were suspended for a month. The Government of South Sudan was formed.
 September 2005

The Darfur peace talks resumed in Abuja.

 11 August 2005 Salva Kiir was sworn in.
 30 July 2005 John Garang died.
 9 July 2005 The Government of National Unity was inaugurated. John Garang was sworn in as First Vice-President.
 31 March 2005 Darfur was referred to the ICC.
 29 March 2005 Further sanctions were imposed in Darfur. 
 24 March 2005 UNMIS was established.
 9 January 2005  

The CPA was signed. 

 01 September 2004 The parties to the Darfur conflict called for AU peacekeepers.
 30 July 2004   The Council imposed the first arms embargo on Darfur.
 April 2004

Darfur N’Djamena Ceasefire Agreement signed.

 September 2003

The North-South ceasefire was signed.
 February 2003 An armed rebellion began in Darfur.
 July 2002 The Machakos Protocol was signed, providing the basis for the negotiations that took place between 2002 and 2004.

 Other Relevant Facts 

 UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
 Jan Pronk (Netherlands)
 UNMIS Force Commander
 Lieutenant-General Jasbir Singh Lidder (India)
 UNMIS: Size and Composition of Mission
  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military personnel
  • Strength as of 13 December 2005: 4,291 military personnel
  • Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, India, Nepal
 UNMIS: Cost
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $969.47 million (gross)
 AU’s Chief Mediator
 Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)
 Head of AMIS
 Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (Nigeria)
 AMIS Force Commander
 Major-General Festus Okonkwo (Nigeria)
 AMIS: Size and Composition
  • Total authorised strength:  6,171 military and 1,560 police personnel
  • Strength as of 20 December 2005: 5,579 military and 1,211 police personnel
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Ghana
 AMIS: Cost
  •  $466 million ($290 million pledged)
  • Largest donors: Canada, EU, US

Useful Additional Sources
The Sudan Tribune lists documents from the peace process: http://www.sudantribune.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=4

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