Expected Council Action
In January, Council members will be looking for concrete evidence that Khartoum is following through on its signals that a new Council statement (adopted on 19 December) would unlock consent for the proposed hybrid AU-UN operation in Darfur. Agreement on key aspects, such as mandate and size, were still pending at press time. It seems inevitable that discussions will turn to sanctions if concrete progress is not achieved soon.
At press time, the Secretariat seemed poised to unveil its advice on a UN operation in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). It is unclear whether members will want to discuss this issue immediately, but action seems more likely in January.
Key Recent Developments
The situation in Darfur, Chad and CAR continued to deteriorate in December. There are now reports of refugees from Chad and the CAR in Cameroon. Clashes in Darfur reached alarming levels. Two soldiers from the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) were abducted in early December. Rebels who signed the Darfur peace agreement now threaten to denounce it if the Janjaweed militias are not disarmed.
Prompted by the Secretary-General, the Human Rights Council held a special session on Darfur on 13-14 December. It passed a resolution expressing concern and decided to send a high-level mission. A report is expected by the Human Rights Council’s fourth session, which will start on 12 March 2007.
On 30 November the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) adopted a communiqué endorsing a hybrid operation in Darfur, renewing AMIS until 1 July and deciding that:
a special representative will be jointly appointed by the AU and the UN;
a force commander shall be appointed by the AU in consultation with the UN;
the UN will provide backstopping and command and control structures; and
size will be determined after further consultations.
Sudan continued to prevaricate, questioning any UN role beyond technical, advisory and financial support. It also insisted that any troops deployed in Darfur be approved in advance by an AU-UN-Sudan tripartite commission.
A round of intensive diplomatic activity continues, with public hints from the US and the UK that sanctions could return to the agenda, and that other consequences would follow if Sudan does not allow the immediate implementation of the “lighter” assistance package and give consent in a written detailed agreement on the hybrid operation by the end of the year.
In mid-December, Khartoum seemed to signal to US envoy Andrew Natsios that it was ready to adopt the hybrid operation concept provided the Council first endorsed the results of the November AU consultations and the AU PSC communiqué.
The Council on 19 December adopted a presidential statement along the lines suggested by Khartoum and called for the Darfur support packages and hybrid operation to be implemented.
Against this background, Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah of Mauritania to deliver a letter to Sudan outlining detailed elements of the phased approach and seeking confirmation of Khartoum’s position. The letter apparently uses the parameters on the mandate and robustness of a UN peacekeeping presence in Darfur, contained in the Secretary-General’s recommendations in July 2006, as the minimum for the hybrid operation.
With the support of his successor Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General Annan asked former General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden to serve as special envoy for the Darfur crisis. (Eliasson’s mandate includes encouraging international players to remain engaged on Darfur and raising additional funding for AMIS.) Ban joined Annan at his last briefing to the Council on Darfur on 18 December.
The AU and the UN signed a memorandum of understanding on the “lighter” UN assistance package on 25 November. Deployment is stalled since Khartoum continues to insist that UN personnel be under AMIS overall, rather than only operational, command and control.
Initial consultations on the heavier package followed, including support for:
the Darfur political process;
communications, engineering, transport, intelligence and logistics; and
It is envisaged that UN military and police personnel will remain under AMIS operational control. Deployment could take four to six months and only after Khartoum’s approval.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, briefed the Council on 14 December and said there was sufficient evidence against individuals considered most responsible for serious crimes to present before ICC judges by February.
In Chad and the CAR, government forces with French military support succeeded in containing recent rebel advances. But the lethality and coordination of rebel attacks seem to have stepped up in tandem with mounting desertions from government forces in Chad. The Council issued a presidential statement expressing concern on 15 December.
Chad and the CAR have reportedly agreed in principle to the deployment of a UN mission along their borders with Sudan, but the practical implications remain unclear. The Chadian agreement came after a meeting in late November in which French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin pledged support to Chad against the rebels. Sudan seems to oppose UN deployment along the borders.
Observers note that the Chadian government appears to oppose dialogue with the rebels, and that the CAR may follow this stance.
A UN assessment mission visited Chad and the CAR in late November. However, in the absence of security, it was unable to visit the affected areas to assess requirements on the ground.
On 30 November, the Secretary-General indicated that new tasks for the UN Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BONUCA) would include support for national dialogue and cooperation with the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and other entities to address trans-border insecurity.
pressure Sudan to realise in practice its “in principle” commitments to the hybrid operation while making sure that concessions to Khartoum do not compromise the force’s credibility and effectiveness; and
revisit sanctions should Sudan continue to impose practical impediments. This could include a relatively smaller package of measures (including further targeted sanctions); a stronger package (including commodity-specific economic sanctions); and/or enforcement of a no-fly zone. (Full-scale economic sanctions seem highly unlikely.)
On Chad and the CAR, options include:
a UN presence to monitor and deter cross-border movements and assist the government with security in refugee camps. This option includes a multidimensional presence in eastern Chad-separate from the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS)-with a mandate in the CAR. (But this could be seen as taking sides); or
a mission with some similar characteristics but with a more clearly impartial role, i.e. with a strong political mandate linked to an inclusive political process.
Bearing in mind the Secretariat’s concerns that any mission be able to operate in an even-handed way, another option would be requesting further clarification from the Secretariat prior to a final decision. (This could, however, delay a Council response on civilian protection.) Members may also want to authorise in the meanwhile an advance mission to continue the assessment on size and force requirements.
Other possible steps include:
supporting the appointment of a political dialogue facilitator for Chad (seemingly favoured by the Secretariat, although the Chad government appears reluctant); and
demanding the establishment of a political process in Chad, the CAR and regionally.
On Darfur, the key issue is securing a firm Sudanese agreement to the hybrid operation. Members know even that may not mean Sudan will cease to create practical and perhaps fatal implementation difficulties.
The second issue is how to re-establish a peace process in Darfur and cease hostilities so as to avoid an excessive focus on peacekeeping. The rebels’ position is unclear on talks on the basis of the Darfur peace agreement under AU-UN leadership.
Members are also aware that the next steps will require leadership from and Council support to the new Secretary-General given the number of key issues still open, including:
the hybrid operation’s practical mandate, size, composition and cost;
the practical meaning of UN command and control structures in AMIS (especially considering Sudan’s continuing objections); and
approval from the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which is likely to involve questions about UN procedures on mandate, procurement, control, management and accountability for UN assessed contributions.
In the event of a final agreement from Khartoum, question of a new Council decision endorsing the hybrid operation may become an issue. Most members will want to ensure that the final outcome should not undermine resolution 1706. On the other hand, the absence of an explicit decision could create an issue about clarity in command and control. It may also complicate discussions in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee.
Time will be of the essence. Deployment of a heavier assistance package and of the hybrid operation, assuming consent is obtained quickly, will take at least six months. This raises questions as to how much delay might be tolerated before alternative approaches such as sanctions are raised.
The issues with respect to Chad and the CAR are not limited to the security situation. It will be difficult for the UN to overlook the importance of the domestic political situation in each country. Any deployments without a clear political process may be seen by Chadian rebels and N’Djamena as taking sides. The Council is also conscious of the issues posed by Sudan’s opposition to deployments along the border.
Issues related to deployment in Chad and the CAR are:
the mission’s mandate, size and cost (especially bearing in mind the potential for criticism if the force is not robust enough);
obtaining clear consent from Chad and the CAR;
troop generation and the concerns of potential contributors (many in the Secretariat and among troop contributing countries are apprehensive about the availability of personnel, civilian as much as military);
the need to devise ceasefires and political processes in both countries;
the relationship with French military assistance to Chad and the CAR as well as the CEMAC military presence in the CAR (FOMUC); and
coordination with the deployment of the Darfur hybrid operation.
The Council seemed united on the adoption of the 19 December statement. A spectrum of views remain within the Council on the optimum shape of a hybrid force, ranging from some more sympathetic to Sudan’s position (Russia, China and Qatar) to others (the US, the UK and other European members) supporting a practical outcome closer to resolution 1706.
On sanctions, it remains to be seen whether there will be unity in the Council. Much may depend on how well or badly Khartoum actually behaves. But clearly there is a growing loss of patience. In the end, however, whether multilateral measures may or may not be agreed, unilateral financial and banking restrictions could have the greatest impact.
On Chad and the CAR, some members are interested in making sure that decisions are conceptually de-coupled from decisions on the hybrid Darfur operation. One of the most prominent concerns during negotiations on the presidential statement on Chad was avoiding mentioning resolution 1706.
Supporters of this approach-in particular France and some African members-seem sympathetic to the position of the Chadian and CAR governments and are reluctant to invoke the UN in the issue of a political process in either country. Those members are also likely to push for a speedy decision on a peacekeeping presence along the borders with Sudan.
Widespread abuse and attacks have prompted wide evacuations of UN and non-governmental staff. Observers note that these have reached record levels. Provision of humanitarian aid to 4.3 million civilians in the region faces an unprecedented risk of suspension.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statement|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission|
|Jan Pronk (Netherlands)|
|UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost|
|24 March 2005 to present, mandate expires 30 April 2007|
|Head of AMIS|
|AMIS: Size and Composition|
|25 May 2004 to present; mandate expires 1 July 2007|
|CAR: Special Representative of the Secretary-General|
|Lamine Cissé (Senegal)|
|BONUCA: Size and Composition|
|15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2007|
|FOMUC: Size and Composition|
|October 2002 to present; mandate expires 30 June 2007|