August 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 July 2007
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Expected Council Action
The report of the Secretary-General with revised recommendations for peacekeeping in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) should be available to the Council by the beginning of August.

It seems that the new proposal will involve yet another form of “hybrid” operation. It involves replacing the proposed UN military component by an EU force in eastern Chad, but maintaining the recommendation that the mission’s police component be under UN auspices. The possibility of the UN subsequently assuming responsibility for the military component seems likely to also be part of the proposal.

Consultations within the EU on the issue continue.  On 23 July EU foreign ministers said that military staff had been asked to plan a possible operation “in support of the multidimensional UN presence in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic with a view to improving security in those areas.”

Council members are likely to consider the recommendations in August.  It is unclear whether the issue of a UN role in political reconciliation will be addressed. Much depends on the position of Chad, which seems to have agreed to the EU force.

Key Recent Developments
The humanitarian situation in eastern Chad and the CAR continues to deteriorate. In Chad, concern remains about soaring malnutrition and mortality rates in the east as the rainy season approaches when access is expected to severely deteriorate. About 500,000 civilians in eastern Chad depend on international aid to survive. In northwestern CAR, the situation continues to be extremely dire, with civilians often attacked and victimised. (Ironically in northeastern CAR-where the proposed mission would operate-the humanitarian situation is much less acute.)

On 13 July, the Council heard a briefing by Under Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno on prospects for peacekeeping in eastern Chad and the CAR. Guéhenno indicated that the Secretariat was reviewing its previous proposal to include the French proposal to send a 12,000-strong EU force. He also indicated that he would be travelling to Brussels to continue consultations with the EU.

On 19 July, President Idriss Deby of Chad, after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said he “agreed in principle” to the presence of an EU military component.

Progress with Libya-brokered peace talks between the Chadian government and the rebel Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (Union des forces pour la démocratie et le développement, or UFDD) has been hesitant. Rebel demands include a national political dialogue towards a transitional administration and elections.

The Council held consultations on the CAR on 3 July with a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Lamine Cissé. The Council issued a press statement following the meeting in which members encouraged CAR authorities to organise a dialogue with all political forces and civil society and expressed serious concern at reports of the use of disproportionate force by CAR government forces.

The latest Secretary-General’s report on the CAR indicated that preparations for a broad national dialogue have been delayed because of the government’s intention to reach ceasefire agreements prior to the dialogue. Opposition parties have reportedly expressed concern. The national dialogue plan envisages preliminary consultations among all parties to define the content and procedures of the dialogue, which would then be facilitated by an external mediator.

The most likely option is to continue the wait-and-see approach, at least until the EU position on the proposed EU military component are clarified.  Options are:

  • authorising the EU force with a mandate to provide security in eastern Chad;
  • establishing a multidimensional UN peacekeeping operation in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR with the focus on policing duties (but perhaps also some UN military observers) that will include oversight, training and mentoring the Chadian police; and including in the mandate arrangements for the EU force to provide back-up support as necessary;
  • providing for a review of arrangements after a defined period to assess whether the EU force could be replaced by UN military contingents;
  • including in the mandate a UN role in the political reconciliation process and requesting a report of the Secretary-General on steps towards that end; and
  • addressing the insecurity in northwestern CAR by encouraging an increase in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s military operation deployed in the CAR (Force multinationale de la Communauté économique et monétaire de l’Afrique centrale, or FOMUC).

Other options are:

  • closer Council oversight of the Libya-brokered talks between the Chadian government and the rebels;
  • signalling that a solution to insecurity in eastern Chad depends both on improvements in Darfur and also on broad national reconciliation; and
  • continuing to signal the need to move towards a national reconciliation conference in the CAR.

Key Issues
The key immediate issue for Council members is the format that an international presence in eastern Chad should take, including the proposed EU force. There are a number of related questions, including:

  • whether the EU and Chad will agree to the new peacekeeping proposal;
  • how best to manage regional relations and the positions of Libya and Sudan in particular; and
  • how best to ensure cooperation between the mechanisms of the February 2006 Tripoli Agreement between Chad and Sudan and the proposed UN and EU deployments.

While the key underlying issue has been how best to improve security on the Chad-CAR-Sudan borders and contain the conflict in Darfur, it is increasingly clear that in both the CAR and Chad the conflicts have their own domestic dimensions. The issue is therefore whether failure to address this issue more seriously may lead to increased risks to peacekeeping in the region and compromise its future viability.

How best to address the situation in northwestern CAR is also an issue. Authorising deployments in the northeast may raise questions as to the lack of response to the instability in the northwest, which seems to have its own dynamic (separate from the Darfur-related violence) and to have a larger role in the displacement and attacks against civilians.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Members seem supportive of a joint UN-EU deployment. It appears that members have generally welcomed the French proposal for an EU force as a compromise that could encourage Chad’s acceptance while providing necessary security for the deployment of a UN police and civilian operation. Most members have adopted a wait-and-see approach as discussions on the new proposal evolve.

France seems keen to obtain agreement on the new peacekeeping proposal as soon as possible. At press time, some EU members seemed ready to contribute troops, but others seemed concerned with troop safety. 

Most Council members seem focused on the regional aspect and African members and France seem sensitive to direct Council involvement in Chad’s domestic politics. But most members also seem to accept that absence of progress with political reconciliation risks repeating dangerous lessons of the past.

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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 and requested recommendations.
 Selected Presidential Statements
  • S/PRST/2007/2 (16 January 2007) requested further recommendations on peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR and on an advance mission.
  • S/PRST/2006/47 (22 November 2006) renewed the UN Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA).
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/376 (22 June 2007) was the latest CAR report.
  • S/2007/97 (23 February 2007) was a report on UN peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR.
  • S/2006/1019 (22 December 2006) was the first report on UN peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR.
  • S/2007/421 and Corr. 1 (11 July 2007) was the report of the June 2007 Council mission to Africa.
  • SC/9069 (3 July 2007) was the recent press statement on the CAR.
  • S/2007/135 (7 March 2007) was a Chad-Sudan statement on re-energising the Tripoli Agreement.
  • S/2006/103 (14 February 2006) was the text of the Tripoli Agreement between Chad and Sudan.

Other Relevant Facts

CAR: Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Lamine Cissé (Senegal)
Strength as of 30 September 2006: 19 internationals, five military, six 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 31 December 2007

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