May 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 April 2007
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Expected Council Action
In May, Council members will turn increased attention to securing Khartoum’s compliance with its commitments on the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. It remains to be seen whether the Council will also put weight behind the political process, including a Libya-sponsored initiative on re-establishing a peace process in Darfur involving representatives of Sudan, Chad, Libya, Eritrea, the United Nations, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the African Union. It seems likely that the sanctions proposal will continue to hover in the wings as a counterweight to further stalling.

At press time, members were negotiating a US draft renewing UNMIS for three months but also addressing Darfur and expressing the Council’s intention to establish the hybrid operation and requesting the Secretary-General to:

  • ensure that the future hybrid force arrangements allow for robust protection, and provide for UN command and control in accordance with the Addis Ababa agreement as well as UN financial management and oversight mechanisms; and
  • conclude the arrangements and submit recommendations to the Council on the hybrid force promptly.

Russia, China, Qatar and Indonesia initially expressed some concern with the inclusion of language on Darfur in the UNMIS draft. At press time, it seems that members are keen on finding compromise language on the Darfur issue and adopting the resolution by 30 April, when UNMIS expires.

Key Recent Developments
The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains dire, with regular attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers and troops of the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).

Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes briefed the Council on 4 April on his visit to the region, stressing that, despite some improvement, “[if] things do not get better…the [humanitarian] operation could start to unravel”.

Seven AMIS troops were killed in April. On 5 April the AU Peace and Security Council demanded an investigation, stressed the need for robust peacekeeping in Darfur, including the deployment of six additional AMIS battalions as authorised last September, and urged lifting restrictions on the freedom of movement of AMIS.

On the political front the AU and UN envoys on Darfur, Salim A. Salim and Jan Eliasson respectively, continued developing regional contacts to build momentum for peace talks. Some encouraging developments were seen but unprecedented fragmentation seems to be developing among rebel groups, communities and government-sponsored Janjaweed militias.

In late March, meetings were held on the sidelines of the Arab League’s summit in Riyadh to encourage Sudan to agree to the heavy support package. The meetings included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, AU Chairman Alpha Konaré, Arab League head Amr Moussa, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Saudi King Abdullah.

Pressure on Sudan increased in early April, including repeated threats of sanctions from the US, the UK and Germany and unprecedented strong signals from China. South African President Thabo Mbeki visited Sudan in early April.

The US and the UK had begun preparing a draft resolution strengthening sanctions.

Following the Riyadh meetings, however, the Secretary-General urged delay to allow for more consultations with Sudan. These were held on 9 April in Addis Ababa, and Khartoum confirmed acceptance of the package in a 16 April letter.

Follow-up informal meetings involving Council members, the Secretary-General, Konaré, Salim and Eliasson took place on 16-17 April. The Secretary-General said that the next steps would involve the preparation of a road map for the political process and a development pact; and moving on with troop generation and financing for peacekeeping.

In a 17 April letter, the Council confirmed endorsement of the heavy package and the provision of existing and additional UN resources for this purpose.

Efforts to gain regional support for robust peacekeeping also continued in April, with a visit by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to Sudan, Chad and Libya.

The Secretariat met prospective troop and police contributors for the heavy package deployment on 19 April. Initial pledges were apparently made by Ethiopia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Jordan, Bolivia, Thailand, Sweden and Norway. There seem to be as well some initial pledges for the hybrid operation, but troop contributors seem to prefer waiting for a Council resolution setting the terms of the operation before coming forward.

On the sanctions front, the latest report of the Panel of Experts was leaked to the press. The Panel apparently found continuing violations of the arms embargo and evidence that Sudanese aircraft had been painted white to resemble UN equipment. The US requested that the report be issued as a document, but it seems that China, Russia and Qatar objected. The committee operates by consensus.

Related Developments at the Human Rights Council

After lengthy negotiations, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus on 30 March a resolution on the human rights situation in Darfur.

The resolution, a compromise between the EU and the African Group, established a seven-person group to be chaired by the special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan to work with Khartoum and the AU to “foster the implementation of resolutions and recommendations on Darfur”, and to “contribute to monitoring the human rights situation on the ground”. The group is expected to report by the time the Human Rights Council meets on 11-18 June.

The sanctions option has not been taken off the table, but in light of recent developments is likely to be put on hold pending further developments on the hybrid mission.

The most likely options for Council action are to:

  • press for the speedy conclusion of AU-UN arrangements on the hybrid force;
  • encourage constructive engagement of regional actors such as Libya;
  • advocate provision of increased resources for the peace process, and an enlarged support team for Eliasson and Salim; and
  • endorse the reactivation of the Darfur peace process, perhaps with a deadline for an immediate ceasefire and increases in humanitarian access to be verified by the Panel of Experts.

Key Issues
The key issue is ensuring that:

  • the phased approach already agreed by all parties is implemented and that Sudan honours its commitments without raising new impediments;
  • a peace process in Darfur is re-established; 
  • humanitarian access improves; and 
  • AMIS has sufficient resources until the UN assumes responsibility for operations and funding with the hybrid operation.

Time is also an issue. Progress with peace talks may be protracted, particularly given fragmentation among rebels. Furthermore, the deployment of the heavy package is likely to take six months and the hybrid operation about ten. Key issues arising here are:

  • the hybrid operation’s mandate, size and command and control; 
  • ensuring that UN accountability, procurement and managerial standards are in place;
  • securing funding commitment from the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee;
  • generating troops for the heavy support (2,250 troops and 675 police) and the hybrid operation (17,300 military and 5,000 police). The package also depends on the deployment of two additional AMIS battalions, which AU commissioner Konaré reportedly said would depend on funding; and
  • the continuing delays in appointing a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMIS.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Wide international pressure, including sanctions looming in the background, and increased Chinese and regional involvement seem to have been instrumental in securing Sudan’s agreement. Khartoum’s prevarication seems to have encouraged some coordination between the US and China on pressuring Sudan.

Despite apparent recent progress, however, the possibility that Khartoum may continue to flout its commitments remains.

The US and the UK in particular have stressed the importance of the hybrid force. US President George W. Bush signalled on 19 April that sanctions had been put off for the moment but would be pursued again should Sudan continue to prevaricate.

China, Russia, South Africa, Qatar and Indonesia are likely to continue to oppose sanctions and prefer allowing more time for dialogue. China has nonetheless come under some pressure, including most recently a proposed boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, if the crisis in Sudan is not addressed.

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/1591 (29 March 2005) and 1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions in Darfur.

  • S/RES/1590 (24 March 2005) established UNMIS.

 Selected Presidential Statement
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/213 (17 April 2007) was the latest quarterly report on Sudan.
  • S/2007/104 (23 February 2007) was the latest monthly report on Darfur at press time.
  • 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.
  • S/2007/212 (17 April 2007) was a Council letter in response to Sudan’s agreement.
  • A/HRC/4/L.7/Rev.2 (30 March 2007) was the recent Human Rights Council resolution on Darfur.
  • S/PV.5655 (4 April 2007) was the record of Under Secretary-General Holmes’ briefing.
  • A/HRC/4/80 (7 March 2007) was the report of the Human Rights Council’s high-level mission to Darfur.

Other Relevant Facts

 UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General
 Special Envoy of the Secretary-General
 Jan Eliasson (Sweden)
 UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost
  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 27,300 military and 6,015 police
  • Strength as of 31 March 2007: 9,365 military and 662 police
  • Key troop contributors: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Egypt and China
  • 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
 AU Special Envoy
 Salim A. Salim
 AMIS: Size and Composition
  • Total authorised strength: about 10,000 military and 1,500 police
  • Strength as of 1 September 2006: 5,703 military and 1,425 police
  • Key troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal
 AMIS: Duration
 25 May 2004 to present; mandate expires 1 July 2007

Full forecast

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