June 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 May 2008
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
A Council mission will visit Chad and Sudan in early June. Topics for discussion include:

  • the countries’ security and political situation;
  • Chad-Sudan relations; and
  • the deployment of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and of the EU Force (EUFOR, the European military force deployed pursuant a Security Council authorisation under resolution 1778).

Members are also likely to have in mind the issue of follow-up arrangements for EUFOR. (The deployment of a UN military component under MINURCAT was foreseen as a possible option and the Secretary-General’s report with recommendations on the issue is due in September. EUFOR’s mandate expires in March 2009.)

On return to New York, the mission is expected to produce a report and brief the Council. A debate is also possible. It is unclear whether the Council’s substantial focus will remain on Darfur, or whether, in light of the wider regional dimensions, the Council will move to a more concretely regional approach, including a sustainable political process in Chad as well as in Sudan, and addressing also Sudan-Chad relations.

The semi-annual report from the UN Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BONUCA) is due in late June. A Secretariat briefing and discussions in consultations are expected.

A regular report on MINURCAT is also expected in late June or perhaps early July.

MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 25 September and BONUCA’s on 31 December.

Key Recent Developments
The humanitarian and human rights situation in Chad remains dire. There are 180,000 internally displaced persons in Chad, in addition to about 250,000 Sudanese and 60,000 Central African Republic (CAR) refugees. There is increasing concern about funding for humanitarian operations in Chad, which currently stands at less than one-fifth of the $290 million requested in the 2008 consolidated appeal.

On 1 May, the Chad country director of Save the Children UK was killed by gunmen near a EUFOR base in the east of the country.

In the CAR, banditry and rebel activity continue to be major concerns. On a positive note, the government and the north-western CAR rebel group Armée populaire pour la restauration de la démocratie (APRD) signed a ceasefire on 9 May. (The APRD was the last major rebel group to engage in dialogue with the government.) Negotiations on a peace deal continue and may be finalised in the following weeks. Observers nonetheless have remained cautious given the possible difficulties with implementation, in particular regarding pending legal issues involving the APRD leadership. A national reconciliation conference is also in the works, but prospects remain unclear.

It appears that EUFOR’s full deployment is expected in late June.

On 9 April, the Council held consultations on Chad and the CAR. Discussions included a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet on progress with 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.

On 16 April, Chadian President Idriss Déby appointed Youssouf Saleh Abbas as prime minister in an apparent overture to the opposition. The latter insisted on dialogue involving armed movements, elections and full disclosure of the fate of Ibn Mahamat Saleh, an opposition leader missing since a government crackdown in February. An agreement was reached leading to the appointment of opposition members to head the defence and justice ministries. Abbas, who had previously served as a presidential advisor and liaison with EUFOR, announced he would seek reconciliation with rebels. However, independent observers and rebel groups have expressed doubts, seeing these developments as a divisive strategy. The rebels continue to demand all-inclusive dialogue leading to elections.

Sudan-Chad relations continue to deteriorate. On 10 May, Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) carried out an unprecedented attack near the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. The Sudanese government subsequently cut off diplomatic ties with Chad, saying it was complicit in the attack. This prompted Chad to close its border with Sudan.

On 13 May, the Council adopted a statement condemning the attack on Khartoum and but warning that no retaliatory action should be taken against civilian populations, or that had an impact on stability in the region.

Options
Options for the Council in June include:

  • continuing the low-key, wait-and-see approach pending the MINURCAT, EUFOR and BONUCA reports;
  • including in the report of the Council visiting mission key messages regarding the need for a more integrated regional approach including broad-based political reconciliation in Chad as well as improvements in Chad-Sudan relations, and expressions of strong concern with the plight of civilians and the lack of funding for humanitarian operations in Chad;
  • supporting reconciliation efforts by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Victor da Silva Ângelo;
  • adopting a more proactive approach, including consideration of an explicit mandate for MINURCAT (or a separate UN envoy) on political reconciliation in Chad, perhaps in coordination with current EU efforts in that respect;
  • increasing pressure on N’Djaména, the rebels and the political opposition to take concrete steps towards all-inclusive dialogue;
  • also adopting a more proactive approach to Chad-Sudan relations, including regular Council expert meetings with Council members and the Dakar Agreement Contact Group; and
  • adopting a statement expressing active support for political reconciliation efforts in the CAR and considering options for securing sufficient resources for the planned national conference, including support for temporarily strengthening BONUCA.

Key Issues
Given the recent waves of violence and fighting in both Darfur and Chad—and in particular the fallout over Chad-Sudan relations from the recent JEM attack on Khartoum—the key issue for the Council is whether the merits of the current low-key Council approach have now been exhausted. The consequential issues are:

  • whether and how the Council should become more involved in improving Chad-Sudan relations, including how best to work with the regional mediation initiative and concerned member states around ways to encourage progress;
  • whether the Council collectively along with concerned non-Council member states would be ready to seriously address the Chadian political situation, including the possibility of a strengthened UN involvement in promoting dialogue and a sustainable political process; and
  • whether a new approach could therefore be devised addressing the conflicts in Chad, CAR and Sudan collectively, including the need for serious coordination among peacemaking and peacekeeping initiatives in all three countries.

Other issues include:

  • security risks for MINURCAT and EUFOR if they are perceived as taking sides and are dragged into the conflict;
  • operational challenges for the EU and UN deployments, including logistics, the volatile security and political environment and managerial issues, as well as the impact of developments in Sudan, including Darfur; and
  • future arrangements to replace EUFOR.

Another issue is also whether and how to support the reconciliation process in the CAR, in particular with UN resources.

Council Dynamics
The Council has so far coalesced around a low-key approach to the issues in Chad and CAR, preferring to focus instead on the humanitarian issues in Chad arising from the Darfur conflict and seeking solutions to the issues in Sudan.

While happy to support a strategy requiring Khartoum to negotiate political compromises with its rebels, the Council has been unwilling to ask N’Djaména to do the same and address the political situation in Chad. This has proven to be a particularly sensitive subject within the Council, which so far has limited itself to expressing support for political reconciliation initiatives in Chad. This is in part connected to strong reservations from France, which has opposed any significant UN involvement in promoting political reconciliation in Chad.

Some members also seemed to be overly optimistic about the prospects for the AU-sponsored Dakar initiative on the situation between Chad and Sudan prior to the JEM incursion. Members now seem more alert to the seriousness of and interconnectedness between the security situations in both countries. However, the prospects for stronger Council leadership seem limited.

European members are becoming increasingly focused on the need to finalise arrangements to replace EUFOR next year. (It seems that the Chadian government may now be somewhat more open to acceptance in principle of the deployment of UN military contingents, which in the past it had opposed.)

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

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

Selected Security Council Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2008/15 (13 May 2008) condemned the attack near Khartoum and warned that no retaliatory action should be taken against civilian populations, or that had an impact on stability in the region.
  • S/PRST/2008/3 (4 February 2008) contained an expression of support to external military assistance to the Chadian government.

Selected Security Council Press Statement

  • SC/9295 (9 April 2008) 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.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/215 (1 April 2008) was the most recent MINURCAT report.
  • S/2007/697 (5 December 2007) was the most recent BONUCA report.

Other

  • S/2008/332 (15 May 2008), 325 (11 May 2008), 308 (7 May 2008) and 305 (5 May 2008) were the most recent letters from Sudan and Chad with complaints of violations of the Dakar Agreement.

 

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 30 April 2008: 84 police and 21 military observers
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Rwanda and France
  • 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 31 March 2008: 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