January 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 21 December 2007
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
Council members are expected to follow closely in January the situation in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) as well as progress with the deployment of the EU protection force and the UN Mission in the region (MINURCAT). The report of the Secretary-General was published on 17 December.

Key Recent Developments
The political and security situation in Chad and the CAR remains highly volatile.

In the CAR, insecurity persists particularly in the northwest and along the border with Chad and Cameroon, where the number of internally displaced is rising due to clashes between government forces and rebels as well as banditry. (MINURCAT and the EU force will only be deployed in the northeast.) The Council expressed its concern in a press statement on 12 December and urged the CAR government to engage in all-inclusive dialogue.

A number of initiatives involving the CAR, Cameroon and Chad appear to be underway, including a conference within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) in early 2008. CEMAC’s multinational force in the CAR (FOMUC) was recently renewed for two years and increased to 500 troops to address the situation in the northwest.

In Chad, major clashes between government forces and two rebel groups took place in the east, particularly along the border with Sudan. The resumed violence quickly affected access to vulnerable populations, and there are concerns that the humanitarian situation may deteriorate. Chad reportedly accuses Sudan of complicity.

The fighting seems to be threatening the peace agreement reached under Libyan auspices between the Chadian government and rebels, including the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) and the Assembly of Forces for Change.

The UFDD has reportedly threatened to fight any foreign military presence on Chadian territory, including the EU force should it be perceived as taking sides. (In this regard, French aircraft appear to be assisting the Chadian army.)

Difficulties surrounding the EU protection force persisted during December, particularly shortfalls in helicopters and funding. Media reports suggest that a French proposal to use common EU funds to reimburse contributors met with reluctance within the EU. At press time, there was hope that the force could be deployed by January, but it was unclear whether this schedule would be met.

An initial MINURCAT civilian nucleus was deployed in N’Djamena in November. Full deployment (particularly in eastern Chad) and recruitment of Chadian police were scheduled to be concluded by March or April 2008. This, however, appears dependent on the pace of the EU force deployment and the security situation. Preparations for the nomination of the special representative of the Secretary-General are underway, but it is unclear when this will be finalised. MINURCAT will be funded through the peacekeeping budget, and recruited Chadian police through a trust fund.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • continuing the wait-and-see approach;
  • more actively managing the challenges facing MINURCAT and the EU force by considering a UN role in political reconciliation in Chad;
  • establishing a mandate for the UN to play a liaison role with the parties as a way of preserving the neutrality of the UN and EU deployments;
  • stimulating a regional approach to political reconciliation in Chad, perhaps by initiating an informal meeting with key regional players; and
  • actively reinforcing the Secretariat’s efforts to secure sufficient financial resources for the overall MINURCAT operation.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is addressing the lack of civilian protection in eastern Chad and northeast CAR resulting from the spill-over from Darfur. A consequential issue is how best to move forward quickly with EU and UN deployments. Other issues include:

  • the challenges of political reconciliation in Chad and associated risks for MINURCAT and the EU force if they are perceived as taking sides and as a result are dragged into the conflict; and
  • logistical and administrative challenges for the EU and UN deployments.

Council Dynamics
There is continuing recognition in the Council of the need for improving civilian protection given the spill-over from Darfur, particularly in Chad. Members are aware of the difficulties of the EU force with funding and asset shortfalls, but most consider that these aspects should be addressed within the EU.

There is also continuing awareness of the potential difficulties arising from the lack of a sustainable political process in Chad. The recent collapse of the peace agreement and the declarations of Chadian rebels seem to have reminded some members of the risks surrounding the deployments. Previously, the issue has been addressed regionally, through Libyan-led peace talks. It appears unlikely that France and Libya will be ready for the UN to take leadership of the political dimension as a means of addressing the challenges in Chad but it remains to be seen whether there is scope for the Council and the UN to take a more limited, but nevertheless active role.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) established MINURCAT and authorised the EU protection force.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2007/739 (17 December 2007) was the Secretary-General’s report on MINURCAT.
  • S/2007/697 (5 December 2007) was the latest BONUCA report.

Other

  • SC/9196 (12 December 2007) was the Council press statement on the CAR.
  • S/2007/702 (28 November 2007) and S/2007/703 (3 December 2007) renewed the BONUCA mandate.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

François Lonseny Fall (Guinea)

BONUCA: Size

Strength as of 31 October 2007: 27 international staff, five military advisors, six police

BONUCA: Duration

15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2007

MINURCAT: Size

Authorised strength: up to 300 police and fifty military liaison officers

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires 25 September 2008

EU Force: Size and Composition

  • Expected strength: 3,700 troops and 600 on reserve.
  • Expected main contributors: France, Ireland, Sweden, Austria and Poland

EU Force: Duration

Term will start once the force is declared operational by the EU command

FOMUC: Size and Composition

  • Current strength: 500 troops
  • Contributors: Gabon, Republic of Congo and Chad

FOMUC: Duration

October 2002 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2009

Full forecast