Recent developments on the situations covered in this Forecast are addressed in the relevant briefs. Interesting developments in the Council on other issues included:
Cyprus: On 2 June, the Council received a report from the Secretary-General on UNFICYP (S/2008/353) noting that a window of opportunity had opened. On 13 June, the Council adopted resolution 1818 welcoming the Secretary-General’s analysis of recent developments, urging the parties to continue to work so full fledged negotiations can begin expeditiously and renewing the UNFICYP mandate until 15 December 2008.
International Tribunals: On 4 June, the ICTY and ICTR briefed the Council on their respective completion strategies (S/2008/326 and 356). The Council was told that the international community needed to boost efforts to apprehend fugitives and increase funding for the tribunals. The ICTY said that Serbia needed to do more to locate and arrest the remaining fugitives. Croatia was asked to hand over archival documents, and Bosnia-Herzegovina was urged to adopt a more pro-active approach. The ICTR called on Kenya to actively search for Félicien Kabuga and investigate his business interests. Both the ICTY and ICTR said that due to new arrests the trials would not be completed until next year. No formal Council decision was taken.
Zimbabwe: On 23 June, Zimbabwe’s opposition officially withdrew from the presidential elections, due to be held 27 June, after weeks of increasing violence against its supporters. The Security Council held consultations on the situation on 12 and 18 June. On 19 June, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convened a closed meeting of diplomats and humanitarian groups and urged the Council to take stronger action against the violence in Zimbabwe. On 23 June, there was an exchange of views between Council members and the representative of Zimbabwe in a closed meeting. Following this meeting, the Council was briefed by B. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who said that the conditions for free and fair elections did not exist and that the elections should therefore be postponed (S/PV.5919). The Council adopted a presidential statement in which it condemned the campaign of violence against the opposition, noting that this had made it impossible to hold free and fair elections on 27 June. It called on Zimbabwe’s government to stop the violence, political intimidation and restrictions on the right of assembly, release detained political leaders and cooperate with all efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution. Finally, it noted that the results of the 29 March elections, which the opposition won, should be respected and requested the Secretary-General to report on regional and international efforts to resolve the crisis (S/PRST/2008/23).
Djibouti-Eritrea: On 12 June, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement that condemned Eritrea’s military actions against Djibouti on 10 June along the frontier between the two countries and called on both parties, particularly Eritrea, to commit to a ceasefire, withdraw their forces, and cooperate with efforts to resolve the matter peacefully. It also called on the Secretary-General to use his good offices to facilitate discussions to resolve the border situation (S/PRST/2008/20). On 24 June, the Council heard presentations from the parties on their views on the crisis and a Secretariat briefing. During the meeting, the representative from Djibouti stated that Eritrean troops were continuing their incursion, while Eritrea denied those accusations. João Honwana, Director of the Africa Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs, described the situation as stable but tense with both sides regrouping on either side of the border (S/PV.5924). On 25 June, the Council issued a press statement requesting that a fact-finding mission be sent to the region (SC/9376).
Iran: On 13 June, the Council heard a briefing by the Chairman of the 1737 sanction committee Belgian Ambassador Jan Grauls on activities of the committee from 18 March to 13 June. He said that the committee on 24 April approved a revised guideline incorporating relevant provisions of the resolution 1803, in addition to a consolidated list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions (S/PV.5909). On 16 June, the E3+3 transmitted to the Council a consolidated proposal for cooperation in several areas they sent to Iran to be used as a basis for renewed negotiations as soon as suspends uranium enrichment (S/2008/393).
Iraq: On 13 June, the Council conducted a review of the mandate of the MNF-I, as requested in resolution 1790. It heard a briefing from the US on behalf of the MNF-I, from Ibrahim Gambari, Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq, on recent UNAMI activities, and from Warren Sach, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, on the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), which has audit oversight of the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). A debate followed (S/PV.5910). The Council adopted a press statement on the continuation of the MNF-I mandate and of the DFI and IAMB arrangements. It also expressed appreciation for UN assistance to Iraq, recognised efforts made by the Iraqi government to improve security, national reconciliation and reconstruction and to combat terrorism and sectarian violence, and called upon the international community to support Iraq (SC/9358).
UNDOF: On 16 June, the Council received a report on the recent activities of UNDOF (S/2008/390) which noted that the situation in the Israel-Syria sector had remained generally quiet but that the situation in the Middle East would remain tense until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East can be reached, and recommending a further extension of the UNDOF mandate. At press time, the Council was expected to adopt a resolution on 27 June, renewing the UNDOF mandate until 31 December, as well as a presidential statement noting that the situation in the Middle East remains tense.
Liberia: On 16 June, the Security Council was briefed by the Libyan Ambassador, Chair of the Security Council Committee dealing with the Liberia sanctions, on the latest report of the Panel of Experts on Liberia. On 18 June, the Security Council adopted resolution 1819, in which it requested the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts on Liberia until 20 December 2008.
Women, Peace and Security: On 19 June, the Council held an open debate at the ministerial level on sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, at the initiative of the US (S/PV.5916 and resumption 1). The Council adopted resolution 1820 stressing that sexual violence as a tactic of war can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict; demanding all parties to immediately protect civilians from all forms of sexual violence; and affirming its intention to consider targeted sanctions against perpetrators. The resolution also requested the Secretary-General to develop guidelines and strategies to enhance peacekeeping operations’ ability to protect civilians from sexual violence and systematically include observations and recommendations in this regard in written reports to the Council, as well as to submit a report by 30 June 2009 with information on the systematic use of sexual violence in conflict areas and proposals for strategies to minimise the prevalence of such acts with benchmarks for measuring progress.
Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and property: On 19 June, the Council received a report from the Secretary-General on implementation of paragraph 14 of resolution 1284 on the repatriation of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains, and the return of property following the first Gulf War (S/2008/405). In it, the Secretary-General said that indications of the possibility of further progress were encouraging. On 25 June, the Council held consultations and heard a briefing by Ambassador Gennady Tarasov, High Level Coordinator. The Council issued a press statement (SC/9375).
Northern Uganda/LRA: On 20 June, the Security Council was briefed in consultations by Joaquim Chissano, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)-affected areas, about prospects for peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA. Chissano apparently told the Council that countries in the region, such as Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central Africa Republic, are growing impatient with the LRA’s failure to sign a peace deal. Chissano also noted that the DRC is considering options to push the LRA fighters out of its territory. However, he also stressed that all countries in the region remain committed to the peace talks, and that, although there were no plans to reopen the agreements reached so far, provisions therein may need to be clarified to the LRA. No formal decisions were taken.
Guinea-Bissau: On 23 June, the Secretary-General issued his report on Guinea-Bissau and peacebuilding efforts in the country. It called on the international community to support the government in fighting drug trafficking and organised crime and noted the difficult economic and financial situation of the country (S/2008/395). On 25 June, the Council held a meeting (S/PV.5925) to consider the Secretary-General’s report followed by closed consultations. It issued a press statement which “welcomed progress on the preparations for the legislative elections scheduled for 16 November (and) applauded the recent steps taken by the Government to bring drug traffickers to justice” (SC/9374).
Middle East consultations: At press time, the Council was expected to hear a briefing from B. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on 27 June on the situation in the Middle East, followed by the monthly consultations. At time of writing, Libya was expected to circulate a draft resolution condemning the acceleration of Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and calling on Israel to cease all settlement construction.
Al-Qaida and Taliban Committee:By 30 June, the Council was expected to adopt a resolution that would direct states to release publicly information on why a person or entity is placed on a sanctions list by the 1267 Committee on Al Qaida and the Taliban.
Iraq (Oil-for-food): On 9 May, the Secretary-General sent a letter to the Council reporting on the Iraqi-UN Working Group on outstanding issues relating to the oil-for-food programme, in particular issues arising from suppliers’ claims that goods were delivered to Iraq but have not been paid for because of a lack of authentication documents (S/2008/318). In a letter dated 23 May (S/2008/341), the Council requested the Working Group to reconvene in June and affirmed its intention to conclude in July all outstanding issues and end the oil-for-food programme.