December 2006 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2006
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Sudan (Darfur)/Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
Council members are likely to support the proposed hybrid force in Darfur, but without enthusiasm and only as a last resort if it’s essential in negotiating an agreement with Sudan.  At press time, the outcome of the 30 November AU Summit on this issue was still unknown.

In light of the recent UN assessment mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), the Council may also address a possible UN peacekeeping presence in both countries, but discussions may have to be left for January. A Secretary-General’s report on the CAR is also expected.

A briefing by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on investigations into Darfur is expected. (The chief prosecutor has signalled that the investigations are near completion and that he has sufficient evidence to prepare the first charges against individuals considered most responsible for serious crimes committed in Darfur. He also stated that, by the beginning of December, his Office expected to have enough information on the cases’ admissibility in light of Sudan’s own proceedings vis-à-vis those cases).

An interim report by the Panel of Experts on sanctions is also expected, but no formal action is likely.

Key Recent Developments
The situation in Darfur deteriorated to unprecedented levels in November, with increasing attacks against civilians and aid workers as well as general lawlessness and chaos. While visiting Darfur in mid-November, Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland was prevented from travelling to some areas.

The spillover into Chad and the CAR is increasing. There are now 68,000 displaced Chadian persons and 218,000 Darfurian refugees in Chad, and an unknown number in the CAR. Rebel activity has increased sharply, with Chad declaring a state of emergency and reports at press time indicate that rebels may attempt to attack N’Djamena. In the CAR, rebels have taken over at least three cities in the north, and have requested talks on power-sharing.

On 10 November, the Secretary-General proposed a phased approach comprising sequential packages of “lighter” and “heavier” UN assistance for AMIS and, finally, a hybrid AU-UN operation that would include:

  • leadership from a joint AU-UN special representative;
  • substantial UN involvement in command and control; 
  • sustainable funding and logistics (the Secretary-General will recommend full UN financing provided that the mission is based on the general parameters outlined in his July report, including robust protection of civilians and support for the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, or DPA); and
  • strength and capacities similar to those in resolution 1706.

A series of AU-UN sponsored meetings followed in mid-November, culminating in an unprecedented meeting in Addis Ababa on 18 November with the Secretary-General, the P5 members, AU Commissioner Alpha Oumar Konaré, the Arab League, the EU, the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan.  Agreement in principle was reached on a hybrid operation involving the following:

  • a renewed political process under AU-UN leadership. The DPA would be the only basis and should not be renegotiated. (But clearly there would need to be new elements of some kind if an accommodation is to be reached.) The UN and the AU will call a meeting of signatories and non-signatories in the next weeks;
  • the parties should cease hostilities immediately, and regional mechanisms need to be reinvigorated; and
  • the military operation should contribute to restoring security and protecting civilians through the implementation of the DPA, with UN funding and logistics pending clarification of the force size. The operation would have a predominantly African character and free movement, with UN backstopping and command-and-control structures.

The detailed mandate, command structures, strength and robustness of the operation remain unclear. Sudan has expressed resistance to a joint force, as opposed to an operation. Negotiations are also continuing on the proposed size of 17,000 military and 3,000 police.

The Secretary-General stated that the UN “must have confidence that what is being proposed is effective, is workable.”

The AU seems also to be considering a fall back position under which the international community would focus on strengthening AMIS.  But it is unclear how much support such an approach would attract.  (It was firmly rejected by the donor community in the past.)

Chad and the CAR continued to denounce rebel attacks launched from Darfur and appealed for a tri-border UN presence. Sudan seems to reject deployments on its side of the border. A UN assessment mission departed on 18 November, and, on 22 November, the Council renewed the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in the Central African Republic’s (BONUCA) mandate until the end of 2007.

The CAR also requested increased military assistance from France and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). CEMAC, Chad (a CEMAC member) and France responded positively. (CEMAC has deployed a military operation in the CAR (FOMUC), and France already provides military assistance to both the CAR and Chad.)

On the regional dimension, options for Chad and the CAR range from a small monitoring presence to a multidimensional operation, perhaps comprising mostly civilian police. A smaller presence in Chad would raise questions of inadequate civilian protection, while a large operation would face difficulties in force generation, financing and its relationship to the political process. For the CAR, a related, likely option is to increase BONUCA’s mandate and resources to encompass particularly the situation in the north, as well as enhanced coordination with FOMUC.

Council members may urge the Secretary-General to invite the parties to UN-led peace talks in both the CAR and Chad. Another possibility is to call for regional coordination involving the UN, Chad, the CAR, Sudan and regional players, or to mandate UN support for current regional efforts.

Key Issues
The key issue is whether agreement can be reached on a Darfur presence that balances credibility and effectiveness as well as acceptability to Khartoum. The outcome of the current negotiations among the UN, the AU and Sudan needs to be acceptable to Council members. This includes aspects relating to:

  • the hybrid operation’s mandate, composition, size and cost (and in particular how similar the hybrid operation will be to the mission created in resolution 1706);
  • command and control, management and accountability, and especially whether it includes a strong UN “spine”;
  • the appointment of a special representative and a force commander;
  • reporting mechanisms to both the UN and the AU, and improvements on the current lack of clarity on the chain of command and future decision-making; and 
  • funding. An important element will be securing commitment authority for expenditure from the ACABQ and eventually approval from the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee. This is likely to involve questions about UN procedures on mandate, procurement, control, management and accountability for UN assessed contributions. Strong UN participation will therefore be important.

The format of the Council’s endorsement may be a significant issue. Ensuring that the final outcome should not undermine resolution 1706 may be important to some members.  This would point in favour of not reopening the Council’s formal decision on the matter. On the other hand, the absence of an explicit decision may create an issue about setting dangerous management precedents and undermining the conventional wisdom about clarity in mandates of command and control.

The practical meaning of such unprecedented, large-scale AU-UN cooperation and its effectiveness remains a major issue in its own right.

Another key issue is how to re-establish a peace process and end hostilities.  The rebels’ position is unclear on AU-UN leadership in the talks on the basis of the DPA (given their opposition to the agreement), and regional players seem to insist on regional (Eritrean) mediation.

On the regional dimension, an emerging issue is how to approach the spill-over effects and civilian protection without upsetting the domestic political balance. Members are mindful of Chadian rebels’ opposition to a UN mission. Additional issues are:

  • the need to devise a ceasefire and a political process in Chad and the CAR (the Secretariat has indicated that it would be looking into the CAR process through its Department of Political Affairs);
    ” the inherent difficulties in monitoring the proposed mission areas;
  • the relationship of a new UN presence with French military assistance to Chad and the CAR, as well as FOMUC;
  • the future of BONUCA;
  • troop generation and costs (compounded by the potentially huge costs of peacekeeping in Darfur); and
  • coordination with the deployment of the Darfur hybrid operation.

Council and Wider Dynamics
It is unclear whether Council members will be able to accept a hybrid operation proposal. Members are nonetheless conscious of the potential for pressure to accept it if indeed it has broad agreement from Sudan and is endorsed by the Secretary-General and the AU.

There remains a spectrum of views inside the Council on the optimum shape of a hybrid force, ranging from some more sympathetic to Sudan’s position and AU command (Russia, China and Qatar) to others (such as the US, the UK and other European members) supportive of an outcome closer to the parameters established in resolution 1706.

Most members seem concerned with a deal or final Council endorsement that could:

  • undermine previous Council decisions (especially resolution 1706) and create a precedent; or
  • undermine the UN’s central role in overall control and particularly management of UN resources, applicable policies and good practices or create confusion over the chain of command.

Some oppose a new resolution under Chapter VIII and prefer a different form of endorsement.  The Council’s recent method of endorsing the draft UN/Lebanon agreement on the international tribunal may set an interesting precedent.

France, the UK and the Republic of Congo are increasingly vocal about the need to address the regional dimension and respond soon to the calls from Chad and the CAR. There is support for including this dimension in any talks about the future of peacekeeping in Darfur. But budget-conscious members such as Japan and the US are likely to be cautious about any option that entails large increases in peacekeeping costs. Most members await the results of the assessment mission prior to presenting firmer positions on the subject.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1714 (6 October 2006) extended UNMIS until 30 April 2007.
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) set a mandate for UNMIS in Darfur.
  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2006/47 (22 November 2006) renewed BONUCA until 31 December 2007.
 Selected Meeting Records
  • S/PV.5519 (31 August 2006) was the adoption of resolution 1706.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2006/870 (8 November 2006) was the latest monthly report on Darfur.
  • S/2006/591 (28 July 2006) and Add. 1 (28 August 2006) made recommendations for UNMIS’ mandate in Darfur and for UN assistance to AMIS. The report was complemented by an update, S/2006/645.
Latest Panel of Experts’ Report

Other Relevant Facts

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission
 Jan Pronk (Netherlands)
 UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost
  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 27,300 military and approximately 6,015 police personnel
  • Strength as of 30 September 2006: 9,619 military and 665 police
  • Key troop contributors: Bangladesh, India and Pakistan
    Cost: 1 July 2006-30 June 2007 $1,126.30 million (excludes Darfur)
 UNMIS: Duration
 24 March 2005 to present, mandate expires 30 April 2007
 Head of AMIS
 Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (Nigeria)
 AMIS: Size and Composition
  • Total authorised strength: about 10,000 military and 1,500 police personnel
  • Strength as of 1 September 2006: 5,703 military and 1,425 police personnel
  • Key troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Gambia
 AMIS: Duration
 25 May 2004 to present; mandate expires 31 December
CAR: Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Lamine Cissé (Senegal)
 BONUCA: Size and Composition
  • Strength as of 30 June 2006:  19 international civilians, five military advisers, six civilian police
 BONUCA: Duration
 15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2007
 FOMUC: Size and Composition
  • Current strength: 380 troops
  • Contributors: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Chad
 FOMUC: Duration
 October 2002 to present; mandate expires 30 June 2007
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