September 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 August 2007
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Expected Council Action
September is likely to be another important month for Council members regarding Sudan. Various important events are scheduled and are seen by Council members as significant opportunities to maintain momentum on both the peacekeeping and political tracks in Darfur.

Consultations on the Secretariat’s report on progress with the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) (due by 30 August) are likely. In addition, discussions on the final report of the sanctions Panel of Experts, a briefing by the Sanctions Committee chairman to the Council and the Panel’s renewal by late September are also likely.

The main focus in September, however, will be three high-level events:

  • the Secretary-General’s trip to Sudan, Chad and Libya in early September;
  • a summit-level Council meeting on Africa scheduled for 25 September; and
  • a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 62nd General Assembly session to be hosted by the UN and the AU on 21 September, which would follow up on the June meeting of the enlarged Darfur contact group in Paris. UN envoy Jan Eliasson is expected to attend.

At the time of writing, separate discussions on the Secretary-General’s August report on the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) seemed possible in the coming days. Especially in light of the Secretary-General’s call on 22 August for Khartoum to comply with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and redeploy forces from south Sudan.

Key Recent Developments
The severe humanitarian and security situation in Darfur continues. About 500,000 civilians cannot receive aid due to persistent insecurity, leading to worsening health indicators. Recent attacks have added 25,000 displaced to the existing 2.2 million, while the number of aid workers has decreased because of security risks.

On 27 August, Khartoum expelled the country director of CARE, a large humanitarian organisation. (This followed a growing number of expulsions-some more linked to Darfur, others less so-including that of the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jan Pronk, in late 2006 and of the EU and Canadian top representatives in the past week. Some see the expulsions as signals from Khartoum that its tough stance vis-à-vis the international community will continue.)  

On 31 July, the Council adopted resolution 1769 mandating UNAMID to:

  • monitor and verify the implementation of existing and future agreements;
  • assist the political process;
  • contribute to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law;
  • monitor and report on the situation along the borders with Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR);
  • monitor the presence of arms in violation of peace agreements and the sanctions regime; and
  • under Chapter VII, take the necessary action to support the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), prevent the disruption of its implementation and armed attacks, and protect civilians, without prejudice to Khartoum’s responsibility.

The Council also set up a timetable for UNAMID’s deployment:

  • command and control structures would be deployed immediately;
  • funding recommendations finalised without delay;
  • by 31 August, troop and police contributions should be finalised;
  • by October, headquarters’ operational capability, including command and control and arrangements for AMIS troop costs, should be finalised. UNAMID should assume control over support packages and other UN/hybrid personnel;
  • no later than 31 December, full AMIS-UNAMID transition; and
  • full operational capability as soon as possible thereafter.

Compromise on the resolution’s language was reached after much pressure from Khartoum and sympathetic Council members. The initial draft had contained a threat of further sanctions, a mandate for the sanctions Panel of Experts to verify compliance with the resolution and UNAMID’s use of force to collect arms. These were deleted. The authorisation to use force for civilian protection now includes an ambiguous reference to the government’s responsibilities.

Khartoum “accepted” the resolution but reportedly claimed that the use of force by UNAMID would be conditioned by the government’s prerogatives, an interpretation which France and the UK reportedly rejected, noting that this is subject only to the decisions of the force commander. 

In mid-August, AU Chairperson Alpha Konaré suggested that there would be no need for non-African troops. Nevertheless, it still seems that such contingents will be necessary to ensure effectiveness. Key components in aviation, transport and logistics are still missing, and the pledges made so far will need to be verified for compliance with UN standards. At press time, it was unclear whether pledges could be finalised by the 31 August deadline in resolution 1769.

Controversy surrounded the proposed appointment of Rwandan Major General Karenzi Karake as UNAMID’s Deputy Force Commander, with concern over his human rights record. On 20 August, the Secretariat indicated that it would hold conversations with Rwanda and human rights organisations. 

At press time, the Secretariat appeared to be finalising funding recommendations for the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee. It seems that the Secretariat has already requested about US $50 million to cover start-up costs until December. Reports to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the Fifth Committee may be ready in October.

The AU-UN mediation team and key rebel leaders held pre-negotiation talks in Arusha on 3-5 August.  Rebel leaders agreed:

  • a common negotiating platform on power and wealth-sharing, land, humanitarian issues and security arrangements;
  • a commitment to participate in a peace process led by the AU-UN team in two to three months, and to cease hostilities provided other parties also commit;
  • to keep open the possibility that other rebel leaders that did not participate in the meeting join the platform (Abdelwahid al-Nur’s faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) refused to participate before a ceasefire and UNAMID’s deployment);
  • to allow free humanitarian access; and
  • to grant full cooperation with UNAMID.

After the meeting, the mediation team visited Khartoum, Darfur and Chad for follow-up discussions.

On 22 August, according to media reports, AU envoy Salim A. Salim called on al-Nur to join the peace talks, noting that negotiations can be valuable even in the absence of absolute security, which could only be ensured by peace talks. Al-Nur reportedly criticised Salim’s comments, signalling that the mediator should focus on pushing Khartoum to disarm the Janjaweed under the DPA. (Al-Nur was the main rebel leader that refused to sign the DPA at the end of the 2004-2006 Abuja talks, of which Salim A. Salim was the top mediator. The failure of the DPA seems to be a factor in the deterioration of relations between Darfur rebels and the AU.)

Related Developments in UN Human Rights Bodies
In late July, the Human Rights Committee noted, inter alia, that Sudan should guarantee that state agents, including militia, stop gross human rights violations and take steps on accountability and reparations, including cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC). (The Committee is an expert body that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.)

The Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Sudan and chair of the Darfur group of experts, Sima Samar, unveiled preliminary findings in early August, noting the occurrence of gross violations of human rights particularly in Darfur. The group’s final report is expected in September, in time for the Human Rights Council’s next session.

20 August report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights also noted gross human rights violations in Sudan with a focus on attacks perpetrated against women and children in a Darfur village in December 2006. The report signalled that the attacks may have amounted to serious crimes under ICC jurisdiction, and urged that investigations be carried out and reparations granted to the victims.

Options include:

  • monitoring the implementation of resolution 1769 closely, perhaps through a new Council working group with monthly meetings;
  • a statement reinforcing support for the AU-UN mediation team;
  • using the renewal of the Panel of Experts as an opportunity to emphasise that attempts by any party to impede the peace process, including the creation of obstacles to a ceasefire, could attract targeted measures under resolution 1591 which imposed sanctions in March 2005.

Key Issues
The key immediate issue for the Council is the likely practical challenges of deploying the heavy-support package and hybrid operation, including:

  • generating sufficient troops and adequate assets;
  • managing the continuing need for cooperation from Khartoum and coordination between the AU and the UN, especially on command and control (it appears that potential troop contributors are particularly concerned with the effectiveness of UNAMID’s unprecedented nature);
  • coordinating with future deployments in Chad and the CAR;
  • securing funding commitment from the Fifth Committee for the expected US $2.6 billion, which would make UNAMID the costliest UN peacekeeping operation in history;
  • UNAMID’s unparalleled management, infrastructure, logistical, security and environmental challenges;
  • timing, particularly since heavy-support deployments are only fully expected by the end of 2007-the hybrid operation could be fully deployed only by mid-2008 at the earliest; and
  • potential differences of view on UNAMID’s mandate, especially to protect civilians, and problems with associating it too closely with the DPA, which could be seen by non-signatories as taking sides.

Another immediate issue is how best to move forward with the political process and cessation of hostilities, including:

  • reaching agreement on a ceasefire;
  • disarming the Janjaweed militias;
  • managing existing demands from some rebels for cessation of hostilities before peace talks;
  • managing rebel fragmentation and ensuring wide participation in peace talks;
  • deciding on negotiation modalities, including the possible reopening of the DPA; and
  • providing resources to a credible process.

An emerging issue is how best to manage the Council’s treatment of the Darfur and the north-south conflicts. The Council has opted for separate discussions on both situations, and the agreement to proceed with UNAMID as a separate operation from UNMIS underlines the important distinctions between the two situations. However, the similarities and linkages between the two situations are beginning to reassert themselves. In particular, key issues such as how best to balance new peace arrangements for Darfur with the intricate power-sharing provisions in the north-south CPA are likely to emerge. Other questions on southern Sudan, such as the CPA’s uneven implementation (as signalled in the Secretary-General’s August report) and the highly fragile security situation may also point out the need for an approach that is able to sustain Council attention to both situations.

Council Dynamics
Members seem in agreement that the unanimous adoption of resolution 1769 was an important step in showing Council unity, in view of the important challenges ahead, including the resolution’s implementation and the need for a ceasefire and a credible political process.

The traditional differences of view persist nonetheless. Some, in particular the US, are still troubled by the absence of stronger language in resolution 1769. There seems to be discontent with the concessions to Khartoum. Those members are likely to continue to prefer pressure on Sudan as resolution 1769 is implemented. China, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and Qatar are likely to continue to prefer dialogue over confrontation.

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UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1769 (31 July 2007) established UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1755 (30 April 2007) extended UNMIS until 31 October 2007.
  • S/RES/1672 (25 April 2006), 1591 (29 March 2005) and 1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions in Darfur.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2007/500 (20 August 2007) was the latest quarterly UNMIS report.
  • S/2007/462 (27 July 2007) was the latest monthly report on Darfur.
  • 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/PV.5727 (31 July 2007) was the record of the adoption of resolution 1769.
  • CCPR/C/SDN/CO/3/CRP.1 (26 July 2007) contained the recent Human Rights Committee observations on Sudan.


Other Relevant Facts

Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Rodolphe Adada (Congo)

UN and AU Special Envoys

UN: Jan Eliasson (Sweden)
AU: Salim A. Salim (Tanzania)

UNAMID: Size and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, including 360 observers and liaison officers, and up to 3,772 police personnel and 19 formed police units
  • Expected cost: US $2.6 billion

UNAMID: Duration

31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2008

AMIS: Size and Composition

  • Total authorised strength: about 10,000 military and 1,500 police
  • Strength as of 23 May 2007: 6,143 military and 1,360 police
  • Key troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal
AMIS: Duration
25 May 2004 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2007.

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