Expected Council and Wider Action
Discussion of the transition to a UN operation in Darfur is expected to continue in July. The Council expects a report from the Secretariat with the results of the AU/UN assessment mission and options for the transition. It is unclear what Council action will emerge, particularly since Khartoum continues to refuse to agree to the transition. But pressure for a firm and united Council response is likely if Sudan fails to respond positively at the AU Summit. The UN Secretary-General is scheduled to attend and to take up the transition issue personally with the President of Sudan.
AU members are expected to increase pressure on Sudan and to emphasise the results of the AU/UN June assessment mission. A new mandate for the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) reflecting the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) is a likely outcome from the AU Summit that will take place on 1-2 July in Banjul, Gambia. It is unclear whether the AU Peace and Security Council will proceed to realise its threat of sanctions against rebels that refuse to sign the DPA, and whether there will be appetite in the Council for doing so as well.
An EU-sponsored pledging conference for Darfur’s reconstruction and AMIS’ additional requirements is now scheduled for 18 July.
At the moment, members seem to hope that a solution to the impasse will be found at the AU Summit. Should this fail, an idea seems to be emerging that firm Council action will be required, but including a balance between pressure and incentives, and for this to be backed up by diplomatic pressure from both the AU and Arab countries.
The possibility of the Secretary-General sending a high-level envoy is a further option.
An option to delay consideration of the assessment report, in order to address the consent issue first, is possible. But it seems more likely that discussions on a draft resolution will begin. Another option, as an interim measure, would be for the Council to authorise the UN to provide certain capabilities to AMIS during the transition period; thus strengthening the existing presence on the ground.
The option of sanctions is likely to be in the minds of some members should Sudan continue to refuse to consent to the transition, particularly in light of Sudan’s failure to meet its commitment under the DPA for a plan to disarm the Janjaweed by 23 June; but it almost certainly will face strong opposition from members such as China, Russia and Qatar. Others also consider that sanctions would do little for creating the necessary conditions for peacekeeping. An unlikely option is strengthening the overall sanctions regime, perhaps by taking into account the Sanctions Panel’s recommendations for a no-fly zone and extending the embargo to the whole of Sudan.
An option which many members are eager to avoid is the possibility that Sudanese consent may not be forthcoming and that the Council will then be faced with the need to decide whether or not non-consensual deployment needs to be discussed and planned for.
As for Chad, options include an AU or UN operation providing security for camps, or even a Council-authorised multinational force perhaps under EU command. But there seems to be little enthusiasm within the EU for a mandate to patrol the border. Most consider that the border is too long for ground patrol. Others are concerned that an operation in Chad may be perceived by the rebels as UN protection for the Chadian government. Chad seems not to favour an AU operation. Others have raised the option of aerial surveillance of the border.
Council and Wider Dynamics
It is unclear whether there will be divisions inside the Council on the appropriate response to Sudan’s reluctance to consent to the transition. The adoption of resolution 1679 by consensus was an important landmark. And it is important to recall that the 15 Council members retained a remarkable unity during the mission to Sudan. While some seem to support pressure on Khartoum accompanied by real threats, a firm Council position supporting a Chapter VII mission coupled also with some positive signals that welcome Sudan’s cooperation and seek to dispel suspicions (perhaps with the adoption of sanctions against rebels) might attract wide support.
Members are aware of the critical importance of a resolution to the current standoff and the risks to the immediate implementation of the DPA if it continues.
Most members seem to favour a combination of pressure and incentives, highlighting that the transition is meant to facilitate an international burden-sharing in order to boost the prospects of success of the implementation of the DPA, and that Chapter VII powers would be aimed at protecting civilians rather than enabling offensive action.
As to the issue of Chapter VII, African members strongly supported a Chapter VII mandate in the discussions in Khartoum, and the AU has been increasingly more vocal about its support for the transition.
There is wide support for the need to incorporate Chad into the discussions, particularly in view of the risk posed to the implementation of the DPA and the strengthening of AMIS, but there is some reluctance to seeing the domestic political situation in Chad itself addressed in detail within the Council. The preference is for attention to the cross-border issues, protection of civilians, avoiding conflict between Sudan and Chad and urging domestic dialogue.
Obtaining consent for the transition. (Observers note that Khartoum’s reluctance is partially due to fears that a Chapter VII mandate would lead to the use of force to compel implementation of the DPA and to arrest Sudanese officials on behalf of the ICC.)
When and how to elaborate on the mandate of a UN operation in Darfur, bearing in mind the expected new mandate for AMIS following the conclusion of the assessment mission. (There are concerns that delaying this work until there is consent plays into Sudan’s hands and gives Khartoum all the leverage. By contrast, beginning this work demonstrates an equal level of resolve on the part of the UN.)
The timing of the transition has now become an issue, with some reports that, instead of September, December or January is now the best case. All along, civilians in Darfur and in camps have continued to suffer.
Also important are the issues of 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. Force generation is also difficult in the absence of a mandate. For some this is an additional argument in favour of getting a draft resolution with a clear mandate substantially developed soon. (Some countries have unofficially agreed to provide troops, but there have been difficulties with securing high mobility and intelligence assets the Secretary-General has called for.)
The issue of strengthening AMIS and proceeding with the implementation of the DPA is important, but members are aware that strengthening will not produce concrete results for many months. Accordingly, improving AMIS within its current strength is also key and the revised mandate is important in that regard.
The imposition of sanctions, most probably following a formal request from the AU against those that refused to sign the DPA, will also be an issue. An associated issue will arise if the government itself is found in continued breach of the DPA.
Incorporating the regional dimensions into this picture, particularly the situation in Chad and in the Central African Republic is a particularly complex issue. Aspects include the relationship between the implementation of the DPA and possible spillover effects into Chad, particularly if more troops are deployed in Darfur, and the protection of camps in Chad. Another will be whether to include in the discussions the internal situation in Chad itself. The reported relations between Chadian and Sudanese fighters may require some attention to Chad’s domestic political situation. Another aspect is potential spillover to the Central African Republic.
A series of high-level diplomatic initiatives aimed at eliciting Sudanese consent for the transition took place in June. None of them was successful. Khartoum has for weeks been giving numerous mixed signals ranging from hints at a possibility of eventual consent to outright refusal.
A Council mission visited Sudan, Chad and the AU Headquarters in early June. A briefing on the visiting mission took place on 15 June and the mission report was issued on 22 June.
The AU/UN assessment mission departed for Sudan in early June, co-headed by Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno. The AU has reportedly started preliminary arrangements for troop generation and has officially requested NATO logistical support. Guéhenno briefed the Council on the results of the mission on 27 June.
At the time of writing, an open meeting was scheduled for 29 June that would include a briefing from the Chadian foreign minister regarding the accusations against Sudan for fomenting instability in Chad, and a possible reply from Sudan. Chad and Sudan have repeatedly traded accusations of support for rebel movements. Chad requested in June a Council meeting on the subject under Charter articles 34 and 35, as well as on UN protection for camps.
Implementation of the DPA has fallen behind the agreed schedule. There have been delays in achieving fundamental points such as Khartoum’s presentation of a plan to disarm the Janjaweed and the launching of a Darfur Regional Authority.
Problems on the rebel side have continued as well. Some commanders from both SLM/A factions have defected, respectively joining or denouncing the DPA, but the Justice and Equality Movement and the SLM/A Wahid faction continue to refuse to sign the DPA. Observers note that mutual suspicion among warring factions in Darfur and the fragmentation in rebel movements have presented considerable challenges to the viability of the DPA.
The Ceasefire Commission was inaugurated and an advance SLM/A team from the Minnawi faction visited Khartoum to begin talks on the implementation of the DPA in mid-June.
Meanwhile, insecurity in camps on both sides of the Darfur/Chad border, attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers and protests against the DPA amongst supporters of the SLM/A Wahid faction increased considerably in June. A few military observers are currently deployed along the border, but this has clearly been insufficient to dispel bilateral suspicions or to contain cross-border incursions.
On 14 June, the Council received a briefing from International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the status of investigations in Darfur. The Prosecutor indicated that while his team has not been able to enter Darfur, evidence of large-scale violations had been gathered, and that it did not appear that Sudanese courts were prosecuting cases that were or would be the focus of ICC attention. Sudan indicated that it rejected the Court’s jurisdiction.
The key looming problem for the Council to face is the fact that a consensual deployment in Darfur may not be in the cards. Khartoum has for months used numerous means to try to avoid that possibility. Initially, it had hoped to persuade the African Union not to authorise the transition. When, after a considerable delay, the AU supported the transition, Khartoum for weeks delayed its authorisation for the AU/UN assessment mission. Shortly after it authorised the mission in June, it announced that it would not allow UN forces, despite the fact that it had permitted the mission to take place. The most recent signals from Khartoum appear less adamant, but further problems seem inevitable.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|Latest Panel of Experts’ Report|
For the historical background, please refer to our February 2006 Forecast Report.
|UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|Jan Pronk (Netherlands)|
|UNMIS: Size and Composition of Mission|
|1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006: $969.47 million (gross)|
|Head of AMIS|
|Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (Nigeria)|
|AMIS: Size and Composition|