August 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 July 2007
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AFRICA

Darfur/Sudan

Expected Council Action
At press time, members were negotiating a second draft of a resolution establishing the AU-UN hybrid operation for Darfur. Given the differing views among members, particularly regarding sanctions and Chapter VII language in the draft, consensus has been hard to achieve and at press time it remained unclear whether the resolution will be adopted before the end of the month.

During August, members are likely to be paying close attention to issues surrounding the operation’s deployment, particularly the force-generation efforts.

Separately in August the Council will receive the Secretary-General’s regular report on the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). The UNMIS mandate expires on 31 October.

Key Recent Developments
Attacks against civilians, limited humanitarian access and harassment of aid workers persist in Darfur. There are reports of murder, rape and abductions of civilians in certain areas, as well as a resumption of aerial bombardments. In recent weeks, about 16 percent of aid convoys that left Darfur capitals were reportedly hijacked or ambushed.

There are also increased concerns with funding for the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS). The EU signalled in early July that its available resources were depleted and called on the US and the Arab League to increase their share in assistance for AMIS. EU parliamentarians also reportedly raised questions about salary arrears for AMIS troops, which prompted an exchange of accusations between troop contributors and the AU.

In early July, Council members began negotiating the resolution to authorise the AU-UN hybrid operation. The first draft was circulated on 11 July by the UK. It proposed the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) be established for 12 months and outlined the mission’s size, mandate and structure. That first draft further contained a request to the sanctions Panel of Experts and to the Secretary-General to report immediately to the Council on failure to comply and referred also to resolutions 1556 and 1591 (both of which established the current sanctions regime) and the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006 (DPA). It also indicated willingness to “take further measures” to enforce compliance. The draft also authorised UNAMID to seize and collect arms whose presence violated peace agreements and resolution 1556.

Deep differences soon surfaced among members on specific aspects of the draft. China, Russia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa and Congo in particular apparently had several concerns.

On 24 July, a revised draft addressing many of the concerns was circulated. It contained the following main elements.

  • The UNAMID mandate is approved as recommended by the AU-UN report. In addition there is an authorisation under Chapter VII to take all necessary action within its capabilities and in its areas of deployment to: (i) prevent disruption of the implementation of the DPA by armed groups; (ii) protect civilians under threat of violence without prejudice to the government’s responsibilities, and prevent threats and attacks against civilians; and (iii) to monitor (as opposed to seizure and disposal) whether any arms or related material are present in Darfur in violation of the peace agreements and of resolution 1556.
  • It establishes that UNAMID would consist of up to 19,555 military, including 360 observers and liaison officers, plus a civilian component including 3,772 police personnel and 19 formed units of 140 police each. There would be a unity of command and control, meaning one single chain with structures and backstopping to be provided by the UN.
  • It emphasises the separation of UNAMID from UNMIS, the existing UN Mission in the Sudan, by specifying a force reduction for UNMIS (temporarily enhanced to support AMIS) and specifying it should go back to its original strength established in resolution 1590, which established the mission in March 2005.

The detailed sanctions language requesting the Panel of Experts and the Secretary-General to report to the Council on violations is removed and replaced with a reference to the parties “international obligations”.

The draft also sets a timeline for deployment in which:

  • member states are to finalise their contributions to UNAMID within thirty days of the adoption of the resolution;
  • deployment of command-and-control structures is to begin immediately;
  • the AU and the UN are to establish an initial operating capability for headquarters and UNAMID’s management structures within ninety days of adoption;
  • deployment of hybrid elements is to start thereafter; and
  • transfer of responsibilities from AMIS to UNAMID is to be completed by 31 December.

In mid-July, the Secretary-General called on Council members to quickly adopt the resolution so that preparations could start, particularly regarding troop generation and securing funding commitment from the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee. The Secretary-General reported on 5 July that the hybrid operation would require about 2.5 billion.

Potential troop contributors have been reluctant to make firm offers without seeing the finalised mandate and language on command and control.

On the political dimension, the AU-UN mediation team chaired a second Libya-format meeting in Tripoli in mid-July including Sudan, Chad, Libya, Eritrea, Egypt, the Council permanent members, the EU, the Arab League, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.

The meeting marked the conclusion of the first phase of the road map (i.e. the convergence of all peace initiatives under the AU-UN umbrella) and the beginning of the pre-negotiation stage. This new phase envisages contacts with rebel groups with a view to a common rebel position and the definition of the agenda, participation and negotiating modalities; possibly including the thorny issue of whether the DPA can really be used as a basis for negotiations.

At the Tripoli meeting, a communiqué was adopted in which participants indicated that invitations to parties for the peace talks should be decided and sent by the end of August. It also stressed the need to secure a recommitment to full cessation of hostilities as a prerequisite for the political process and emphasised that “any hindrance to the political process would be addressed through appropriate measures” by the UN Security Council and the AU.

The AU-UN mediation team is set to hold a meeting of non-signatory rebel commanders in Arusha, Tanzania, from 3 to 5 August to identify a unified position among rebel groups.

Developments in the Sanctions Committee
The second interim report of the Panel of Experts is before the Sanctions Committee for consideration. The report apparently continues to note violations of the arms embargo in Darfur, with a larger focus on the activities and sources of support for of rebel groups. At press time, the Committee was set to discuss the report late in July. Also, members were negotiating a letter requesting information from Sudan on the implementation of resolutions 1591 and 1672 (which imposed targeted sanctions against four individuals) and recent reports of government use of previously UN-chartered planes.

Options

In August, once the resolution is adopted, Council members are likely to consider the following options:

  • possible actions to support the Secretariat with force generation (a new special Council working group to work with prospective troop and police contributors may be a possible confidence building measure);
  • more active Council support for the AU-UN mediation team;
  • an institutional framework (separate from the sanctions regime) to monitor implementation of the resolution;
  • a reminder to the parties, perhaps in a presidential statement, that attempts to impede the peace process, including the creation of obstacles to a ceasefire, or impede the adoption of a common rebel negotiating position could attract targeted measures as referred to in resolution 1591 (which, along with resolution 1556, established the sanctions regime).

Key Issues
The key immediate issue for the Council is the likely practical challenges of the deployment of the heavy support package and the hybrid operation. This includes:

  • generating sufficient troops and assets under different frameworks for the heavy support package (bearing in mind the preceding need for two additional AMIS battalions) and the hybrid operation;
  • managing the continuing need for Khartoum to keep its commitments and not raise practical impediments;
  • concerns from potential contributors of troops and police, including inevitably about command and control;
  • securing funding commitment from the Fifth Committee, in particular by managing the concerns of large financial contributors who are not Council members (or ten out of the 15 largest contributors) who will also be concerned about effective command and control, accountability and proper financial management in line with UN procedures;
  • the huge management, logistical, security and environmental challenges for the operation which are largely unparalleled in UN peacekeeping history. (For example, it will face the largest ever distance between the closest sea port-Port Sudan-and the area of operations). The hybrid operation is slated to be the most expensive mission ever, operating under an untested hybrid AU-UN concept; and
  • timing issues, particularly since heavy support deployments are only fully expected by the end of 2007. The hybrid operation could be fully deployed only in mid-2008 at the earliest.

On political reconciliation, the key issue is generating and resourcing a credible process and encouraging all rebel movements to fully join the peace process. There are several major additional questions, including negotiation modalities, participation and relationship with the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Negotiations on the draft resolution brought to the surface traditional Council divisions on the sanctions dimension and the need to maintain pressure on Sudan. The US, the UK and France were keen to include language to continue to press Khartoum on the need to implement its commitments. China, Russia, Qatar, Indonesia and the African members seemed to prefer a different tone, with emphasis on Khartoum’s recent cooperation.

While there has been consensus on the mandate, size and command and control language in the draft, discussions soon revealed important differences among members on specific aspects of the draft. China, Russia, Qatar, Indonesia, South Africa and Congo apparently expressed concern in particular about:

  • the reference to further measures and sanctions in general;
  • the proposed mandate for the Panel of Experts;
  • the use of Chapter VII and the authorisation to use “all necessary means”; and
  • the inclusion of language not present in the AU-UN recommendations, in particular the authorisation to seize or collect arms.

China, Congo and South Africa in particular seem to have been uncomfortable with a perceived disproportionate focus on the government as opposed to stepping up pressure on the rebels to comply with commitments and adhere to a peace process.

Resulting from these dynamics, the revised draft presented on 24 July addressed several of the above issues. The sponsors seem to have been ready to accommodate concerns about sanctions and tone of the draft in return for maintaining the language on mandate command and control and Chapter VII.

France and the UK signalled a very strong commitment to the resolution and to put in motion the new operation for Darfur quickly. Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said at a joint press conference on 20 July that they could not allow further delays and that the two countries would be prepared to send their foreign ministers to New York. At press time it still seemed possible that the final adoption of the resolution would involve ministerial level participation.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1755 (30 April 2007) extended UNMIS until 31 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) set a mandate for UNMIS in Darfur.
  • S/RES/1672 (25 April 2006) created a list of four individuals for measures specified in resolution 1591.
  • 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 Statements

  • S/PRST/2007/15 (25 May 2007) welcomed the AU-UN report and called for it to be considered and taken forward immediately.
  • S/PRST/2006/55 (19 December 2006) endorsed the phased approach.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2007/307 (23 May 2007), Rev. 1 (5 June 2007) and Add. 1 (5 July 2007) contained the AU-UN recommendations on the hybrid operation.
  • S/2007/213 (17 April 2007) was the latest available quarterly report on Sudan.
  • S/2007/104 (23 February 2007) was the latest monthly report on Darfur available at press time.
Other
  • S/2007/421 and Corr. 1 (11 July 2007) and S/PV.5717 (16 July 2007) were respectively the report and the record of the Council meeting on its June visiting mission to Africa.
  • S/2007/402 (2 July 2007) contained the AU Peace and Security Council communiqué establishing the hybrid operation.
  • A/HRC/5/L.6 (15 June 2007) was the text of the Human Rights Council resolution renewing the mandate of its group of experts on Darfur and requesting an update by September and a final report by its following session.

Other Relevant Facts

Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Rodolphe Adada (Congo)

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General

Jan Eliasson (Sweden)

Full forecast

 

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