May 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2007
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Expected Council Action
The Council is likely to maintain a wait-and-see approach while the Secretariat and some Council members try to engage Chad about consent for the proposed UN peacekeeping operation. A Secretariat team may visit Chad in May. However, the momentum seems to have waned and agreement is unlikely anytime soon.

It is unclear if and when the Secretariat will propose more detailed modalities for the mandate of the advance mission authorised in January.

It is unclear whether members will want to consider the possibility of authorising deployment in the Central African Republic (CAR) ahead of Chad.

Key Recent Developments
In Chad, there are now 140,000 internally displaced persons plus 235,000 Darfurian and 46,000 CAR refugees. A cross-border assault by Janjaweed and Chadian militia in late March killed 400 civilians. Former Chadian President Goukouni Weddeye, currently living in Libya, is expected to lead a new peace initiative between N’Djamena and Chadian rebels.

In the CAR, there are now 300,000 civilians displaced by conflict. While the presence of humanitarian organisations is steadily increasing, apparently no camps have yet been set up for the displaced at press time. Both rebels and government forces have been accused of abuses against civilians.

The CAR government and the rebel faction Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement (UFDR) signed a peace deal on 13 April including a ceasefire and amnesty for the UFDR faction. However, conflict continues with other factions.

On 4 April Under Secretary-General John Holmes briefed the Council on the humanitarian situation in the region. Underlining the need to improve security and humanitarian access, Holmes suggested that, given Chad’s reluctance, alternative options would be deploying a UN mission solely in the CAR for the time being, or strengthening of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s (CEMAC) military operation deployed in the CAR (FOMUC).

Holmes further underscored that various “representatives have commented on… the regional nature of the conflict and how resolving the conflict in Darfur is the key… but… there are in each case national conflicts and national political issues which need to be resolved independently of whether there is a resolution in Darfur. We must not lose sight of that and the need to tackle those issues as well.”

Relations between Chad and Sudan seem to have soured further. Chadian armed forces carried out an operation into Sudanese territory in early April, arguing the right to repel cross-border rebel attacks. Sudan denounced the operation and, in an 11 April letter to the Council president, requested an immediate investigation and “the necessary measures within the framework of [the Council’s] responsibilities”.

However, during a visit by South African President Thabo Mbeki on 11 April, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir reportedly took a more conciliatory tone by saying that Khartoum hoped both countries will reach an understanding.

Libya subsequently announced that Libyan and Eritrean observers would deploy along the border, and that a joint regional military committee had been created. The committee is due to meet for the first time in early May in Tripoli.

International efforts to gain regional support for robust peacekeeping included a visit by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Sudan, Chad and Libya in mid-April.

The likely option is continuing with the wait-and-see approach. This could perhaps include adopting a statement:

  • supporting the effort by key players, especially some of the P5 and the Secretariat to engage with Chad;
  • encouraging Chad to allow the deployment of the advance mission; 
  • calling on regional neighbours to support the proposed UN deployment; 
  • becoming more actively involved perhaps through a visiting mission by one or two Council members; and
  • taking up more actively the political reconciliation issues.

Another option is to take on Holmes’ suggestion that an operation in the CAR be authorised first, for which there seems to be support from Bangui.

Key Issues
The key issue is how best to proceed toward a UN operation in Chad and the CAR, which in turn raises a number of related questions:

  • how to address Chad’s reluctance;
  • whether concessions on the military component’s size and deployment can be considered, and how far the Council is prepared to go without putting UN personnel at unnecessary risk;
  • whether to authorise deployment in the CAR first;
  • whether constructive support from regional players for UN peacekeeping in Chad and Darfur, particularly from Libya, Sudan and Eritrea can be garnered; and
  • the wider questions that the precedents in Darfur and Chad may create for future UN peacekeeping.

One key issue that seems to have become sidelined is how to maintain momentum for firmly encouraging a domestic political process in Chad.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Council activism in deploying robust UN peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR seems to have decreased in April with members adopting a wait-and-see approach. Observers note that in particular France, with its presidential elections, may prefer a low-key approach for now.

The US seems to be more involved on the ground by supporting efforts to convince N’Djamena to accept the proposed operation.

Developments in Darfur also seem to have consumed much of the Council’s attention in April. This may be partially due to perceptions that one of the keys to solving the situations in Chad and the CAR is solving the Darfur issue. Members are nonetheless conscious that there are important domestic dimensions in Chad and the CAR that also need to be addressed.

It is unclear whether members would support alternatives such as authorising the CAR operation first or making compromises on robustness.

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UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) mandated a multidimensional UN presence in Chad and the CAR.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2007/2 (16 January 2007) requested further recommendations on a peacekeeping presence in Chad and the CAR by mid-February.
  • S/PRST/2006/47 (22 November 2006) renewed the UN Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BONUCA) until 31 December 2007.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/97 (23 February 2007) was the new report on UN peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR.
  • S/2006/1034 (28 December 2006) is the latest Secretary-General’s report on the CAR.
  • S/2006/1019 (22 December 2006) was the first report on UN peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR.
  • S/2007/201 (11 April 2007) was the Sudanese letter on recent cross-border attacks.
  • S/PV.5655 (4 April 2007) was the record of Under Secretary-General John Holmes’ briefing.
  • S/2007/135 (12 March 2007) was a letter from Libya forwarding the Chad-Sudan statement on re-energising the Tripoli Agreement.
  • S/2006/103 (14 February 2006) was the Chad-Sudan Tripoli Agreement. 

Other Relevant Facts

 CAR: Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Lamine Cissé (Senegal)
 BONUCA: Size and Composition
 Strength as of 30 September 2006:  19 international civilians, 5 military advisers, 6 police
 BONUCA: Duration
 15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2007
 Force multinationale en Centrafrique (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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