June 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 May 2006
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AFRICA

Darfur/Sudan

Expected Council Action
Much of the Council’s attention and energy in June will be consumed by Sudan.

Formulating the details of the future UN mandate in Darfur will be a focus.  

  • A Council mission will visit Sudan, Chad and the African Union (AU) Headquarters in early June. Details of the mandate will undoubtedly be discussed with interlocutors on the ground.  A briefing, an open meeting and a report are expected to follow.
  • The Secretary-General is expected to provide a detailed proposal for transition to a UN operation in Darfur and the AU’s estimates of additional troop and resource requirements for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. 
  • A pledging conference in Brussels to secure funds for AMIS is expected.
  • Continuing attention to the Sudanese-Chadian border is likely. An AU assessment of AMIS assistance in implementing the Tripoli Agreement and the April rebel attacks is also expected, but the AU delegation has reportedly not been able to visit Darfur, and Chad broke diplomatic relations with Sudan in April.
  • The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is expected to brief the Council on the status of investigations on Darfur. 
  • The regular report of the Secretary-General on the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and the monthly report on Darfur are expected.
  • The midterm briefing of the 1591 Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts is due. Council members are likely to focus on targeted sanctions against spoilers of the Peace Agreement rather than on the arms embargo, particularly after the 31 May AU deadline for additional signatures to the Peace Agreement.

Options
A lot will depend on whether Khartoum in practice now cooperates quickly and efficiently with the UN.

It seems that the UN/AU technical assessment mission will now proceed. And the Secretary-General will then have a week to present a report. Under these circumstances, the most likely option is that the Council adopts a resolution on the mandate. The current thinking is that UNMIS would have two regional commands-one in Darfur (under Chapter VII) to provide civilian protection, deter peace spoilers, monitor the Chadian border and assist with implementing the Agreement, and the second in the south (under Chapter VI) for the implementation of the north-south agreement.
 
If there is delay, one option is for the Council to adopt a first resolution setting out basic details of the mandate without waiting for the report of the technical assessment mission. A further resolution could follow specifying greater detail once the full concept of operations was available.

In the event of obstruction by Khartoum, a separate resolution threatening specific measures if cooperation does not materialise within a short period of time, seems a probable option.  Members are likely to stress the need for full cooperation during the Council mission visit.

Regarding issues other than the decision on the UN mandate, one option will be targeted sanctions against members of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) that threaten the Agreement. It was mentioned in resolution 1679, after the AU Peace and Security Council’s (PSC) threat of submitting names to the Council.

There may be a need to amend the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Panel of Experts to include violations of the Peace Agreement.

An unlikely option is strengthening the sanctions regime, perhaps by taking into account the Panel’s recommendations for a no-fly zone and extending the embargo to the whole of Sudan.

Another issue continues to be whether to expand UNMIS’ mandate to include the addressing the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Key Issues
The visit to Khartoum by Assistant Secretary-General Hédi Annabi and the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi seems to have resulted in agreement on the visit by the technical assessment mission.  Media reports suggest that important issues relating to mandates may also have been discussed, now leaving the way open for the Council to proceed with drafting a resolution.

A further issue for the Council will be monitoring the implementation of the Peace Agreement and encouraging additional resources for AMIS. The future role of NATO is likely to be an important aspect, as is the possibility that AMIS is extended beyond September. It seems that the timing of the transition is becoming an issue with some reports that, instead of September, December may be more realistic, especially in the absence as yet of lead troop contributing countries.

The tensions between Sudan and Chad will also loom large.  Reports of massacres of civilians in Chad are now emerging.

All this and the issue of new targeted sanctions against peace spoilers and the LRA are likely to be raised during the Council mission.

Also important will be troop generation (initial estimates are that 15,000 to 20,000 will be needed), identifying the lead nation(s) and maintaining an “African character” in the mission.

Key Facts
After much pressure, the Minni Minnawi SLM/A faction and the Government signed the Peace Agreement on 5 May.

Key points are the government’s submission of a plan to disarm the Janjaweed by early to mid-June, the Darfur-Darfur dialogue and the identification of military positions. AMIS’ envisaged role is to verify the new ceasefire (the 2004 N’Djamena Ceasefire continues in force), patrol demilitarised zones around IDP camps, and monitor disengagement, redeployment, arms control, disarmament and demobilisation of combatants, inter alia.

The Council held a ministerial meeting on 9 May to welcome the Agreement. The PSC on 15 May endorsed the Agreement, gave the JEM and the al-Nur SLM/A faction until 31 May to sign, threatened potential peace spoilers with sanctions, and granted unconditional approval for the transition.

The Council adopted resolution 1679 under Chapter VII, confirming the AU threat and calling for the assessment mission.

Some initial thinking has started on AMIS’ additional needs. Observers note possible additional deployments from Rwanda and Nigeria. There will be a particular demand for external resources such as airlift and technical assistance, and NATO has indicated willingness to support.

A second pledging conference for Darfur’s reconstruction is expected for September.

Council Dynamics
On the transition, there is a growing sense of urgency in the minds of some Council members (particularly the US) as well as a feeling that acting decisively and in a timely manner in the aftermath of the long awaited peace accord is essential to maintain the Council’s credibility.  The adoption of the most recent resolution on Sudan, by consensus, and under Chapter VII hints at a possibility of a growing Council resolve in this respect.

There is support among members for sanctions against rebel peace spoilers. Difficulties could arise if the government itself is found in breach of the Agreement.

Underlying Problems
The situation of civilians in Darfur remains grave. Indeed, according to the latest report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the human rights situation in the whole country is dire.

The situation in the south of Sudan remains fragile. Besides the LRA, there are serious concerns about SPLA redeployments, as well as other armed groups such as the South Sudan Defence Forces.

Another looming issue is eastern Sudan.  The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is due to withdraw from eastern positions in June, and, with that, UNMIS will not have a mandate in the east. The withdrawal may lead to an escalation of hostilities between rebels and northern forces. Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jan Pronk has urged the Council to extend UNMIS’ mandate in the east.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1679 (16 May 2006) set new deadlines for the assessment mission and threatened sanctions.

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

  • 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.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2006/21 (9 May 2006) welcomed the Peace Agreement.
  • 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/2006/5 (3 February 2006) mandated the Secretariat to start contingency planning.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2006/306 (19 May 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. 
 Selected Meeting Record
  • S/PV.5439 (16 May 2006) was the record of the meeting in which resolution 1679 was adopted.

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: Size and Composition of Mission
  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military personnel
  • Strength as of 4 March 2006: 7,697 military personnel
  • Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, India and Nepal
 UNMIS: Cost
 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $969.47 million (gross)
 Head of AMIS
 Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (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
  • $170 million (budget until 30 September; does not include costs arising from the Peace Agreement)

Full forecast