September 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 August 2007
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Expected Council Action
The Council has signalled it is ready to authorise a multidimensional UN operation in eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic (CAR) and an EU military operation to provide security for civilians at risk and for UN personnel. This would be subject to agreement on details by the EU, the UN and Chad, but it is unclear whether this process can proceed quickly enough for a Council resolution in September.

Members expect feedback from the Secretary-General on his trip to Chad, especially on the issue of a future transition from EU forces to a UN military component, and from the EU planning process in the first weeks of September.

Key Recent Developments
Widespread concern about the humanitarian situation in Chad and the CAR continues. The Secretary-General’s August report noted an increase in internal displacement in Chad reaching more than 170,000 civilians.

An agreement between the government and political opposition was signed on 13 August providing for power-sharing and wide reforms in the Chadian electoral system, to be followed by parliamentary elections in two years (the polls had initially been scheduled for later this year). The EU hailed the agreement, suggesting willingness to participate as a facilitator in the implementation.

Concern about inclusiveness in the political reconciliation process continues, however. The agreement does not include rebel groups. Libyan-sponsored negotiations between the government and rebels appear deadlocked at press time, for which Chad reportedly blamed Sudan in late July.

In the CAR, there are 30,000 displaced in the northeast and 180,000 in the northwest. The situation is highly fragile particularly along the border with Cameroon, where there are about 26,000 refugees. Fears of resumption of hostilities between the government and the rebel Front démocratique pour le peuple centrafricain (FDPC) were heightened when FDPC leader Abdoulaye Miskine in early August refused the post of presidential advisor, citing lack of progress in the implementation of the peace agreement signed in February.

On 13 August, the Secretary-General produced revised recommendations on peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR, which were originally requested in August 2006 in resolution 1706. The new recommendations included the following.

  • An innovative multinational presence consisting of troops under EU command, providing security together with a multidimensional UN operation comprising police officers and a civilian component working with local police and gendarmes in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR. Deployment in border areas is not foreseen.
  • A mandate including protection of civilians, protection of UN personnel, deterrence of armed conflict and movement through its presence, and the facilitation of humanitarian assistance. The EU force would operate for an initial 12 months. Transition to an UN military component, would be assessed in six months.
  • Three hundred UN police officers would screen, train, mentor, support and monitor about 850 Chadian gendarmes and police responsible for security in camps and associated areas, which would remain under the overall authority of the Chadian government.
  • There would be air mobility capacity for the police component, plus the possible deployment of UN formed police units to work with Chadian police and gendarmes.
  • The multidimensional civilian component would play a major oversight role including in coordination, monitoring and human rights dimensions.

The Secretary-General suggested that the Security Council should signal in advance its intention to authorise the proposed multidimensional presence.

UN and EU mission planners were in Chad at press time with a view to firming up the mission concept. The EU may hold initial discussions on the conclusions of the mission planners in early September.

Members held consultations on the report on 21 August, during which questions about the timing of Council authorisation surfaced. It seems that the emerging idea would be to adopt a resolution before the matter is referred to the EU Council of Ministers as a way to address both the perceived urgency of the deployments and some EU members’ preferences. EU-UN arrangements could be similar to the recent EU deployment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Secretariat briefing to the Council with further clarifications could be arranged before the adoption of a Council resolution.

On 27 August, the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing readiness to authorise the deployments taking into account the positions of Chad and the CAR.

If and when planning is finalised, a likely option is adopting a resolution under Chapter VII:

  • authorising the EU deployment;
  • establishing the multidimensional UN presence along the lines recommended by the Secretary-General; 
  • clarifying the need for coordination between the proposed presence, the mission in Darfur and regional monitors deployed along the Chad-Sudan border; and
  • providing for a review after a defined period to assess possibly replacing the EU force with UN military contingents.

Other options include:

  • clarifying the UN role in political reconciliation in Chad and the need for coordination with EU and Libyan efforts, and requesting a report of the Secretary-General on steps towards that end; 
  • addressing the insecurity in northwestern CAR by encouraging an increase in FOMUC (the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s military operation deployed in the CAR); and 
  • continuing to signal the need for a national reconciliation conference in the CAR.

Key Issues
The key issue is improving security in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR and containing the spill over from Darfur. A consequential issue is how best to move forward quickly with a peacekeeping presence in the area.

The unusual nature of the proposed presence also opens a number of issues, including:

  • coordination among the proposed components, in particular the relationship between the EU and the UN (the international presence in Timor-Leste and EU deployments in the DRC may offer some useful lessons);
  • chain of command, especially with respect to Chadian police and gendarmes;
  • size of the proposed multidimensional presence;
  • mandate, in particular given the risk of being seen as taking sides by the rebels. A related issue is the absence of a sustainable political process and whether EU and Libyan political conciliation efforts will be sufficient to avoid risks of future deterioration;
  • transition from EU to a UN military component (in practice, this could be accomplished by a simple re-hatting of the units-which might be the most face-saving solution for Chad); and
  • accountability and financial oversight in the interim, particularly vis-à-vis UN assets used to support Chadian police and gendarmes.

Authorising deployments in northeastern CAR may raise issues about the lack of response to the instability in the northwest, which seems to have a much larger role in the displacement and attacks against civilians in that country.

Council and Wider Dynamics
It seems that the EU, in particular France, has taken a leadership role on reconciliation between the political opposition and the Chadian government, as well as on creating the conditions for the establishment of a peacekeeping presence.

Within the EU, there seems to be strong interest in having a clear understanding in advance on an exit strategy for EU troops involving a transfer of responsibilities to the UN after 12 months. Chad appears to prefer delaying the issue until the review of the proposed deployments after six months.

Council members are supportive of the proposed deployments. However, during negotiations on the recent Council statement, China and others also seemed keen on emphasising the need for consent from Chad and the CAR.

There seems to have been some differences on including language alluding to UN involvement in the political processes in both countries, especially given Chad’s possible concerns about it. But most members also seem to accept that absence of progress with political reconciliation risks repeating dangerous lessons of the past.

Almost all seem concerned with the lack of clarity with respect to mandate, coordination, command and control, size and the issue of transfer from the EU to the UN. There was strong reluctance to authorise the deployments without a firm idea as to how such issues will play out in practice.

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UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution
  • S/RES/1706 (31 August 2006) requested recommendations on a multidimensional UN presence in Chad and the CAR.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2007/30 (27 August 2007) expressed readiness to authorise deployments.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Reports
  • S/2007/488 (10 August 2007) contained revised recommendations for peacekeeping in Chad and the CAR, including the EU component.
  • S/2007/376 (22 June 2007) was the latest CAR report.

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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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