May 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 April 2008
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Recent developments on the situations covered in this Forecast are addressed in the relevant briefs. Interesting developments in the Council on other issues included:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: On 31 March the Council adopted resolution 1807 extending the sanctions regime on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) until 31 December. Additional provision was made for the imposition of sanctions on those who commit acts of violence against women in the context of armed conflict in the DRC. The resolution also clarified that the arms embargo applied only to illegal armed groups and also that the related notification system required only the states of origin for arms imports to notify the Security Council Sanctions Committee on the DRC. The restrictions applying to air traffic were retained.

DPRK (North Korea): Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy, Chairman of the Sanctions Committee on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, briefed the Council on the Committee’s activities on 2 April. (See S/2007/778 for an overview of the Committee’s 2007 activities.)

Lebanon: On 8 April the Council heard a briefing (S/PV.5863) by UNIIIC Commissioner Daniel Bellemare on progress in the investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. (He had submitted the latest report to the Council on 28 March S/2008/210.) On 15 April the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2008/8) regarding implementation of resolution 1701.

Haiti: On 8 April the Council heard a briefing (S/PV.5862) by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti, Hédi Annabi, following the latest report on UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (S/2008/202). The Council adopted a press statement (SC/9293) welcoming progress while deploring recent violence and attacks against MINUSTAH. It also expressed concern at the humanitarian situation and encouraged international donors to provide emergency relief.

Chad/Central African Republic: On 9 April the Council held consultations on Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR). Discussions included a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet on progress with the deployment of the UN Mission in the CAR and Chad and the EU Force. In a press statement, members expressed concern with the situation in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR, encouraged the governments of both countries to promote national dialogue and also encouraged implementation of the Sudan-Chad Dakar Agreement (SC/9295).

Georgia: The Council held consultations on Georgia on 14 April and adopted resolution 1808 on 15 April extending the mandate of UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 15 October. The Council held further consultations on Georgia on 21 April and a private meeting on 23 April (S/PV.5874) in the aftermath of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for closer relations between Russia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia and at the request of Georgia (S/2008/257).

Western Sahara: The Council received the latest report on Western Sahara on 14 April (S/2008/251). The Secretary-General noted that “the momentum can only be attained by trying to find a way out of the current political impasse through realism and a spirit of compromise from both parties.” Prior to Council consultations on 21 April, the Personal Envoy Peter van Walsum circulated to all Council members his personal and non-official assessment of the situation regarding the ongoing talks between Morocco and the Polisario—apparently dissenting to some extent from the Secretary-General’s report. He argued that the parties had effectively exhausted the current discussions and now needed clear guidance from the Council. At press time, the Council was discussing a draft resolution renewing the MINURSO mandate, submitted by the Group of Friends (France, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US).

Liberia: On 14 April the Council was briefed in an open meeting by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj, on the situation in the country and the Secretary-General’s plans on drawing down the numbers of United Nations Mission in Liberia troops. The briefing was followed by a Council meeting in private consultations on the matter. The Secretary-General visited Liberia on 21 April.

Cyprus: On 15 April Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Council during consultations on his recent trip to Cyprus. He seems to be optimistic about upcoming negotiations between the new Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, although, he said, they would not be easy. In a presidential statement (S/PRST/2008/9), the Council warmly welcomed the agreement reached on 21 March between the two leaders to resume negotiations as well as the opening of the Ledra street crossing, reaffirmed its commitment to the reunification of Cyprus based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation and political equality and called for more confidence-building measures.

Cooperation with Regional Organisations: On 16 April a high-level debate of the Council on the dual themes of UN Cooperation with Regional Organisations, in particular the African Union and Conflict Prevention resulted in the adoption of resolution 1809. The resolution encouraged increased engagement between the AU and the UN and called on the UN Secretariat to develop a list of needed capacities and recommendations on ways that the AU could further develop its military, technical, logistic and administrative capabilities. It welcomed a proposal by the Secretary-General to establish an AU-UN panel comprising of distinguished persons to carry out a detailed consideration of financing of peacekeeping operations undertaken by regional organisations. The resolution also encouraged the role of regional bodies in the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Kosovo: On 21 April the Council held a closed meeting in which Council members, Joachim Rücker (the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)), Boris Tadić (President of Serbia) and Hasim Thaci of Kosovo discussed UNMIK (S/PV.5871, issued as a communiqué). At the stakeout after the meeting, Thaci thanked states that had recognised Kosovo’s independence and said that Kosovo was building democratic, multi-ethnic institutions. Also at the stakeout, Tadić asserted that Serbia was defending its “territorial integrity and sovereignty” in response to Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

Ethiopia-Eritrea: The Council was briefed on 22 April in closed consultations by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the country.

Timor-Leste: On 23 April the Council held consultations on Timor-Leste. Members heard a briefing on the preliminary findings and recommendations of an expert mission on policing that visited Timor-Leste in late March. The mission’s report is expected to be completed in May.

Middle East: The Council held its monthly consultations on the Middle East on 23 April. In a public briefing, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane noted that the direct bilateral negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians were ongoing. She however noted the continuation of violence and the heightened humanitarian distress in Gaza, while conditions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem have not improved. She urged Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza (S/PV.5873).

Counter-terrorism : Ambassador Johan Verbeke of Belgium, the Chairman of the Security Council’s 1267 Committee, which monitors sanctions imposed on the Taliban and Al-Qaida, briefed the Council in closed consultations on 24 April. (Please see our Update Report of 21 April on the 1267 Committee.)

Iraq: On 28 April the Council heard a briefing by Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on progress regarding the fulfilment of UNAMI’s mandate. (The latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMI was published on 22 April, S/2008/266). US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad also briefed the Council on behalf of the Mulltinational Force in Iraq (S/PV.5878).

Somalia:
At press time, the Council was expected to extend the mandate of the Somalia Monitoring Group on 29 April.

Cote d’Ivoire: At press time, the Council was scheduled to review the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2008/250), highlighting preparations for the electoral process in Côte d’Ivoire, and to review the sanctions regime on 29 April.

Small Arms: At press time, the Council was planning to hold an open debate on small arms on 30 April. A report by the Secretary-General on small arms was published on 17 April (S/2008/258).

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