April 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 March 2008
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action

Consultations on Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) are expected in April. Members now expect by early April the Secretary-General’s progress report on the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). A statement is possible, particularly if the security situation deteriorates further. MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 25 September.

Key Recent Developments
The intense fighting in West Darfur involving the Sudanese government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has led to the arrival of tens of thousands of new Sudanese refugees in Chad, adding to the existing 250,000. There are also an estimated 180,000 internally displaced Chadians.

In Chad, concern at a possible new rebel offensive continues. The government extended the state of emergency, but observers note this has also been used to crackdown on the political opposition as a viable political force.

The situation along the border between Sudan and Chad is highly volatile. In early March, a French soldier died and another was wounded after their vehicle inadvertently crossed into Sudan from Chad as part of a reconnaissance mission under the EU Force (EUFOR).

On 17 March, EUFOR was officially declared operational.

On 12 March, Chad and Sudan signed a new agreement to defuse tensions and stop mutual support for rebels. The Dakar agreement also established an international contact group reportedly including Congo, Gabon, Libya and Senegal to oversee implementation.

It was the latest in a series of attempts to improve Chad-Sudan relations. However, as with previous such agreements, there are concerns about its effectiveness. Sudan reportedly expressed scepticism about the usefulness of a new agreement while rebels dismissed its potential for improving the situation. In late March, Chad and Sudan accused each other of violating the agreement.

In the CAR, the situation remains highly volatile. The rebel Armée populaire pour la restauration de la démocratie (APRD) is still active in the northwest, a region outside the area of operations of MINURCAT and EUFOR. There are reports that the APRD and the Chadian army have become embroiled in inter-communal tensions in the area, with a number of Chadian army incursions noted particularly in January through March. Displacement and abuse of civilians continues.

A domestic committee for the establishment of political dialogue in the CAR is expected to propose a framework for talks to the government by 31 March. (The committee includes government officials, opposition groups, rebels and civil society.)

The security situation in the CAR further deteriorated after a group of Ugandan rebels belonging to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early March. LRA leader and International Criminal Court indictee Joseph Kony is believed to be amongst LRA fighters in the CAR. There were reports of looting and abductions from an LRA attack against a village in southern CAR.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • continuing the wait-and-see approach;
  • adopting a low-key regional approach by establishing regular Council expert meetings with concerned member states, the Libyan-Congolese mediators and the AU, and by supporting reconciliation efforts by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Victor da Silva Ângelo;
  • managing the challenges by considering a mandate for MINURCAT on political reconciliation in Chad, perhaps including support for the Libyan-Congolese mediation and coordination with the AU and UNAMID; and
  • following the situation in northwestern CAR more closely, perhaps including a statement expressing concern and supporting political reconciliation efforts.

Key Issues
The key issue is whether and how to become more involved in promoting political reconciliation in Chad and CAR as part of a wider regional approach. Related issues include:

  • the continuing destabilisation in Chad and the potential for further deterioration of Chad-Sudan relations and a regionalised conflict;
  • security risks for MINURCAT and EUFOR if they are perceived as taking sides and as a result are dragged into the conflict;
  • managing the complexities of coordinating simultaneous deployments in Chad and Darfur; and
  • operational challenges for the EU and UN deployments, including assets, logistics, the volatile operational environment and management, as well as political and security developments in Darfur.

Council Dynamics
There is awareness of the potential for a regionalised conflict, and the wider links between the sources of conflict in Sudan, Chad, CAR and rebel groups, and related risks for EUFOR and MINURCAT. But Council members so far appear inclined to continue with a wait-and-see approach leaving the issues to initiatives by regional neighbours and others such as France.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

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

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2008/3 (4 February 2008) contained an expression of support to external military assistance to the Chadian government.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2007/739 (17 December 2007) was on MINURCAT.
  • S/2007/697 (5 December 2007) was on the UN Peacebuilding Office in the CAR (BONUCA).

Other

  • S/2008/160 (5 March 2008) was a Sudanese letter on the recent border incident involving EUFOR.
  • S/2008/139 (4 March 2008) contained an AU communiqué on Chad encouraging mediation by the Republic of Congo and Libya.

Other Relevant Facts

MINURCAT: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

  • Victor da Silva Ângelo (Portugal)

MINURCAT: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Authorised strength: up to 300 police and fifty military liaison officers
  • Strength as of 29 February 2008: 57 police and six military observers
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, France, Mali and Niger
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2007–30 June 2008: $182.44 million

MINURCAT: Duration

  • September 2007 to present; mandate expires on 25 September 2008

EU Force: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Expected strength: 3,700 troops and 600 on reserve.
  • Expected main contributors: France, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and Finland
  • Cost: EUR 119.6 million

EU Force: Duration

  • 17 March 2008 to present; mandate expires on 17 March 2009.

BONUCA: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

  • François Lonseny Fall (Guinea)

BONUCA: Size

  • Strength as of 30 November 2007: 27 international staff, five military, six police

BONUCA: Duration

  • 15 February 2000 to present; mandate expires 31 December 2008

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