October 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 September 2007
Download Complete Forecast: PDF


Expected Council Action
Council members are expected to pay close attention to progress with deploying the UN-AU Mission in the Sudan (UNAMID) and the peace process.

An Arria formula meeting on women in armed conflict in Africa organised by France will take place on 1 October. Discussions will include former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, Council members and NGOs, and are expected to intensify focus on ongoing violence in Darfur.

Key Recent Developments
The Darfur security environment seemed to worsen during September with bombings and clashes involving government and rebel forces only days after the visit by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) reported that the clashes involved heavy weapons including government helicopter gunships. AMIS said that the scale and nature of the attacks was astonishing given the critical stage of the peace process, forthcoming negotiations in Libya and commitments to the ceasefire by all parties. Observers note the attacks might represent an attempt to change military realities on the ground ahead of the talks.

The Secretary-General announced that Darfur peace talks would take place on 27 October in Tripoli. In a joint communiqué, Sudan pledged to facilitate UNAMID’s deployment and to participate constructively in the peace talks. Khartoum also pledged to fulfil its commitment to a full cessation of hostilities in Darfur.

On 12 September, the Secretary-General briefed the Council on his trip, outlining major aspects of his three-track strategy (including the humanitarian situation, peace talks and peacekeeping) and unveiled plans for a trust fund for the political process.

The mediation team appears to be making progress with its preparations. Civil society participation seems to be an important element. A chief negotiator could be appointed soon, and a preparatory workshop for rebels on 17-27 October is possible. The team is now working on format and structure, especially the modalities for participation of key international partners.

However, the increased fighting has enhanced rebel suspicion of Khartoum, leading some, including Abdul Wahid al-Nur, to refuse to participate in the negotiations. Others are now either reluctant to consider a ceasefire, or want delays until agreement on a cessation of hostilities can be reached. Many of these issues were reflected at a preparatory rebel meeting in Chad in mid September.

In New York on 21 September, a high-level meeting on Darfur was held on the margins of the UN General Assembly to mobilise support for the three tracks. It seems that the meeting got sidetracked onto discussion of technical issues regarding UNAMID’s composition. The joint AU-UN communiqué that followed carefully appealed “for support [to] ensure deployment of a force that would be able to effectively fulfil its mandate,” while reiterating UNAMID’s predominantly African character.

On 25 September a Council summit-level meeting on Africa led many to re-emphasise the importance of the Darfur issue.

The Secretary-General has noted that plans for the transfer from AMIS to UNAMID by 31 December include deployment of an “early effect capability” comprising one formed police unit and forty police officers, as well as one brigade, four reserve companies, sixty liaison officers and one aviation unit. Five troop contributors appear to have been identified for this initial phase. Aviation, transport and logistics assets are still missing for the long-run, as well as about 1,200 police.

Deployment of the heavy support package appeared to have made progress by mid September. About 290 police advisers and half the international civilian staff are still to be sent.

On 20 September, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, noted with concern that Khartoum was likely to interpret silence on justice issues as a weakening of international resolve; and that, if justice was ignored, crimes would continue, affecting humanitarian and security operations. (Sudan recently appointed ICC indicteee Ahmad Harun, currently a minister with responsibility over civilian camps in Darfur, as head of a human rights commission of inquiry.)

On 21 September, the Secretary-General observed that “justice is a part of the peace process, and these should go hand in hand.”

Related Developments in the Human Rights Council
The midterm report of the group of experts noted that Khartoum has only partially implemented the group’s recommendations, and that it could not verify concrete impact on the ground. (For more details see our July Forecast.) The group now recommended a call upon Sudan to intensify efforts and address impunity issues, and on the parties to cease attacks against civilians. The group’s final report is expected in December.

Discussions largely reflected longstanding positions, with Egypt, on behalf of the African Group and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, emphasising Sudan’s efforts so far. The EU expressed concern. The African Group then defended the termination of the mandate for the special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan, given Khartoum’s “high level of cooperation”, the “positive developments witnessed on the ground in all parts of Sudan” and that Darfur would best be dealt with through the experts group.


Related Developments in the Sanctions Committee
In September, the Chairman of the Sudan Sanctions Committee briefed the Council, apparently noting wide divisions among members on a proper follow-up to the midterm report of the sanctions Panel of Experts. These included whether to strengthen the embargo and how best to address complaints against Sudan for lack of cooperation with the Panel.

The Panel’s final report was presented on 19 September and may be published in October. It apparently notes persistent violations of the embargo from all sides. At press time, the Council was expected to renew the Panel’s mandate on 28 September.

Options include:

  • developing a plan for active Council support for the AU-UN mediation team, perhaps starting by calling on member states to contribute to the trust fund;
  • demanding an immediate cessation of hostilities and mandating the Secretary-General to work vigorously to this end;
  • signalling that it may determine a date and time for a ceasefire if the parties do not comply;
  • raising the stakes for those tempted to be spoilers by threatening that attempts to impede the peace process, including raising obstacles to a ceasefire, would attract enhanced measures under resolution 1591; and
  • reminding the parties that justice issues remain on the table and perhaps recalling the potential synergies between peace processes and justice and accountability.

Key Issues
A key issue now appears to be how to ensure that a ceasefire can be in place ahead of the peace talks, and how best to revive monitoring mechanisms.

A major issue for the Council is whether to become engaged in the ceasefire question and the challenges facing the peace talks.

The peace talks face a number of key issues:

  • Participation in the Tripoli Talks: how best to ensure legitimacy and the representation of key groups, while managing rebel fragmentation and suspicion against Khartoum;
  • Participation of Key Constituencies: how best to incorporate the views of civil society, the internally displaced and Arab communities;
  • Negotiation Modalities: how best to manage the peace process and avoid past mistakes, in particular regarding timing (such as whether to rely on deadlines) and substance (including critical issues such as land, previously included simply as one aspect in wealth-sharing but now increasingly seen to be much more complex, given the realities in Darfur); and
  • Sufficient Resources: both human and financial, for the peace talks.

On peacekeeping, an emerging issue is whether Khartoum is now using the composition issue as an excuse to delay UNAMID’s deployment. Others include:

  • generating sufficient high-quality troops and adequate assets;
  • managing the continuing need for cooperation from Khartoum and coordination between the AU and the UN;
  • coordination with deployments in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) and outcomes from the Tripoli peace talks;
  • UNAMID’s cooperation with the sanctions Panel of Experts;
  • securing funding commitment from the General Assembly for the expected $2.6 billion;
  • UNAMID’s unparalleled management, infrastructure, logistical, security and environmental challenges; and
  • potential differences of view on UNAMID’s mandate to protect civilians.

Further issues include:

  • justice and accountability, notably whether inaction may send unwanted signals to Khartoum; and
  • similarly, how best to address violations of the arms embargo and whether the threat of sanctions could have a role in support of the peace talks.

Council Dynamics
Council members generally agree on the need to make progress with the peace process and the deployment of UNAMID. Most now appear to appreciate the difficulties of generating adequate troops and assets, despite the Council’s August 31 deadline for finalising troop pledges.

Underlying differences on how best to ensure Khartoum’s cooperation continue. The US, the UK and France have reportedly signalled the possible need to threaten targeted measures against spoiler behaviour, perhaps as a means of ensuring cooperation from the parties, particularly with the peace talks.

On justice and accountability, some members seem reluctant to increase the Council’s involvement in the issue, at least until the peace process bears fruit. Others have been more outspoken. It remains to be seen if a compromise can be built around a low-key approach while preserving the Court’s credibility and potential for deterring spoiler behaviour.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) authorised EU and UN deployments in Chad and the CAR.
  • 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) 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/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2007/517 (30 August 2007) was the recent report on UNAMID’s deployment.
  • S/PV.5749 (25 September 2007) was the record of the summit-level meeting on Africa.
  • A/HRC/6/7 (22 September 2007) contained the recent report to the Human Rights Council on Darfur.
  • S/PV.5727 (31 July 2007) was the record of the adoption of resolution 1769.


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.

 Full forecast