May 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2006
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AFRICA

Sudan/Darfur

Expected Council Action
In May, the Council is expected to increase the level of attention to Darfur by:

  • working on the options for the transition from an AU to a UN led force; 
  • preparing for a Council visiting mission to Sudan, Addis Ababa and possibly Abuja expected for 5 -11 June; 
  • considering the expansion of the list of individuals for targeted sanctions (see the 19th April report of the Panel of Experts);
  • continuing to press for progress in Chad and Abuja; and
  • paying close attention to the situation facing Chad.

Depending on proposals for the transition presented by the Secretariat, and in particular, if a peace agreement emerges in Abuja, the Council may adopt a resolution establishing the framework for the future mandate and allowing the force generation process to begin in practice.

The Council also expects a report of the Secretary-General on how UN missions-in this case the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)-can assist governments with civilian protection against armed groups, especially the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Options
The transition options become much easier if a peace agreement emerges from Abuja. One possibility if the parties are still hesitating in May would be to reinforce the final proposals by the AU mediators presented to the parties by a specific Council statement or resolution.

A second option, especially bearing in mind the request of 13 April from the Government of Chad to the Secretary-General, is to formally include the situation on the Chad/Sudan border on the Council’s agenda and to request briefings.

On the LRA issue, an option is to expand UNMIS’ mandate to expressly include the LRA.  The challenge is to clarify for UNMIS what this may mean in practice.

Council Dynamics
The Council displayed a considerable degree of consensus with the adoption of two presidential statements on the Abuja talks (S/PRST/2006/16 and 17) and a presidential and press statement on Chad in April.

The wider questions relating to the transition still loom large as members await the more detailed options report. The Secretary-General continues to give strong personal leadership, but sensitivities relating to the Council’s stance vis-à-vis the Government of Sudan, the potential costs of a new operation, the role of the AU in the transition, problems with force leadership and uncertainty about force generation figure prominently.

Some members remain sensitive about a too confrontational position with Khartoum and are concerned that this could hinder the prospects of a successful transition. Others focus on the possibility that this may derail the Abuja talks. But overall there now seems to be much greater acceptance of the need to take a quiet but firm approach to the transition and not to be unduly determined by Sudanese actions.

There are also sensitivities within the Council regarding the extent of the discussions on Chad. The Council’s focus on cross-border and spillover effects from Darfur is seen as appropriate. However, there is no support for getting the Council involved more than is necessary with situation in Chad itself. Members are concerned with the fact that Chad is not on the Council’s agenda at this point, and this may lead to discussion of an agenda item specifically focussed on the cross-border issue.

On sanctions, a resolution imposing targeted sanctions on four individuals was adopted on 25 April together with a presidential statement on the Abuja talks, thereby sending a signal that the sanctions were not aimed at pressuring the talks per se, but in response to the ongoing violations of human rights and of the ceasefire currently in force.

The compromise bringing together these two drafts was made possible due to leadership from African members of the Council, who had initially wished to see the sanctions resolution adopted after the 30 April deadline for the Abuja talks, but, in the end, they helped pull the two together in a package.

As a result of this, as well as the recent willingness of the Council to include language in statements which better address AU concerns about the need for a partnership in the transition and support for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), there seems to be a relaxation of the previous concerns and frustrations from AU members, and a greater willingness to move forward with the transition.

But the abstentions on the sanctions resolution by Russia, China and Qatar underline the ongoing divisions in the Council regarding sanctions in general, and the relative sympathy of those members for Khartoum’s perspective.

The possibility of forming a group of friends may also affect Council dynamics. The UK has expressed interest in following up on this.

Key Facts
No formal consent from Khartoum for the visit of the Secretariat assessment mission had been secured at the time of writing. The Secretariat is expected to continue to brief the Council on planning while the full options report is being completed.

The Secretary-General, the Under Secretary-General and the Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Peacekeeping Operations briefed the Council on 26 April.  The briefing provided some initial insights on the options for transition. ASG Hédi Annabi also reported that there was agreement with the AU on the establishment of joint transition mechanisms plus UN assistance to AMIS.

Developments on assisting AMIS in the interim period concentrated on securing pledges for additional funds.  The EU seems particularly supportive.  In Brussels, NATO formally decided to extend and expand its capacity-building efforts in support of AMIS, focussing on transport, logistics, communications and intelligence. But the prospects of an international pledging conference seem to have decreased, perhaps because it is now send as less necessary and an added complication.

A potentially complicating development came with the airing of a statement attributed to Usama Bin Laden, urging supporters to act against “crusaders in western Sudan.”  It was very widely denounced including, interestingly, by Sudan.

Dr. Salim A. Salim, the AU’s Chief Mediator, briefed the Council on 18 April on the developments in Abuja. Besides the tabling of an enhanced ceasefire, the mediators finalised on 25 April a draft comprehensive peace agreement including power- and wealth-sharing, security arrangements (including disarming the Janjaweed), the Darfur-Darfur dialogue and implementation mechanisms and modalities.

The ceasefire monitoring commission-chaired by Chad-has not met in several months. An AU attempt to hold an emergency meeting in April failed, and no new date has been set. As a result, violations have not been reported and key ceasefire provisions, including full disclosure of military positions, have never been observed.

Council members have started discussing a Council visit to Sudan (potentially including Khartoum, Juba and el-Fasher),  N’Djamena, Addis Ababa and possibly Abuja, scheduled for 5-11 June and to be headed by the UK. While the terms of reference have not yet been finalised, Council seem to want to try to establish a working relationship with Khartoum to ease the way for the transition to the UN force while at the same time signalling the Council’s real concerns with the cross-border situation with Chad.

Key Issues
As reported in our April Forecast, a number of issues still linger before Council members while the full options report is not available:

  • the need for resources for AMIS in the interim period while supporting the AU’s efforts to obtain Khartoum’s acceptance;
  • improving liaison with Khartoum;
  • uncertainty in the absence of a peace agreement in Abuja;
  • achieving some consensus on what a partnership with the AU will entail, particularly if the Abuja talks continue to drag along; and
  • leadership in committing to participation in the transition force and for the force generation process.

The Secretariat has presented three scenarios for planning: (i) a peace agreement and a credible ceasefire; (ii) the current status quo, with a shaky ceasefire; and (iii) collapse of the ceasefire.  There is still lack of clarity within the Council as to how to proceed if a peace agreement is not reached. A critical point affecting all of those issues will thus be whether an agreement is reached in Abuja soon.

Another key issue affecting the transition are the developments in Chad. The Secretary-General has indicated that an assessment team should travel to Chad to “review the situation on that side of the border.”
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Underlying Problems
The situation in Chad deteriorated considerably in April, with rebel advancements from the east along the border with Sudan to the south towards N’Djamena, culminating with an attack against the Chadian capital on 13 April.

The Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) condemned the attack the same day. France reportedly boosted its 1,200 troops currently stationed in Chad.  Chad has accused Sudan of aggression and has been supported by the Central African Republic which closed its border with Sudan after the attack.

The Secretary-General briefed the Council on the developments in Chad, emphasising that the situation and rebels’ strength and sources of support remained unclear. The Council adopted a press statement on 25 April expressing concern with the situation and the spillover, and urging the parties to enter into dialogue.

Observers note that the Chadian rebels, keen on toppling President Idriss Deby especially before the 3 May elections, took advantage of the redeployment of government troops to the east and the wave of defections from the Chadian army, and that there are indications that the rebels’ arms and supplies were obtained within Sudanese territory. The situation was further complicated by the Chadian opposition’s decision to boycott the elections.

N’Djamena cut diplomatic ties with Khartoum after the N’Djamena attack.  An AU mission to investigate the attacks visited Chad on 21 April in preparation for an AU decision on Chad’s accusations.

The situation in the south of Sudan remains fragile. Besides the LRA, there are major concerns about redeployments of Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) troops under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as well as other armed groups such as the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), which were to join either the SPLM or the northern troops.

A positive development came with the announcement that Eritrea will host talks between Khartoum and the eastern rebels, but no date had been set at the time of writing. This development comes as one aspect in improving relations between Sudan and Eritrea, with whom Khartoum cut diplomatic ties in 2002 for reported support for Sudanese insurgents. But fighting is ongoing in eastern Sudan, mainly due to the redeployment of government troops into rebel-controlled areas and the eastern rebels’ opposition to the withdrawal of SPLM forces mandated in the north-south peace agreement, now postponed until mid-June.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1672 (25 April 2006) imposed targeted travel bans and assets freeze.

  • S/RES/1665 (29 March 2006) renewed the mandate of the Panel of Experts.

  • S/RES/1663 (24 March 2006) renewed UNMIS and set a thirty-day deadline for transition options.

  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court.
  • 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/2006/19 (25 April 2006) expressed concern with the situation in Chad and the spillover, and urged Chad and Sudan to improve bilateral relations.
  • S/PRST/2006/17 (25 April 2006) reiterated support for the Abuja peace talks.
  • S/PRST/2006/16 (11 April 2006) regretted Khartoum’s denial of Egeland’s entry; endorsed the PSC’s 30 April deadline for the Abuja peace talks; and called on the transition assessment mission to visit Darfur by 30 April.
  • S/PRST/2006/5 (3 February 2006) mandated the Secretariat to start contingency planning.
  • S/PRST/2005/67 (21 December 2005) expressed concern with the current situation, in particular the spillover effects in Chad.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2006/218 (5 April 2006) was the latest report on Darfur at the time of writing.
  • S/2006/160 (14 March 2006) was 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.
 Report of the Panel of Experts
 Other Documents
  • S/2006/256 (13 April 2006) contained the Government of Chad’s request to formally include the situation on the Chad/Sudan border on the Council’s agenda.
  • S/2006/156 (13 March 2006) contained the PSC decision to renew AMIS until 30 September and accept the transition “in principle”.

 

For the historical background, please refer to our  February 2006 Forecast Report.

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 Collins Remy Umunakwe Ihekire (Nigeria)
 AMIS: Size and Composition
  • Total authorised strength:  6,171 military and 1,560 police personnel
  • Strength as of 20 March 2006: 5,475 military and 1,385 police personnel
  • Key troop-contributing countries: Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Ghana
 AMIS: Cost
  • $208 million (budget estimate for 1 April-31 December 2006) 

Useful Additional Sources

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