July 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 June 2008
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action
In July, the Council is expected to discuss the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The report is due by early July and a Secretariat briefing is likely.

Members will have in mind the issue of arrangements to replace the EU Force (EUFOR), but detailed discussions on this are not expected until later in the year.

At press time, formal Council action seemed unlikely, but a statement is possible particularly if the situation in the region deteriorates.

Key Recent Developments
The humanitarian situation remains critical in Chad and Central African Republic (CAR). In mid-June, Chadian rebels launched a new offensive, briefly taking over a number of towns in the east. The government again accused Sudan of assisting the rebels.

The attack in Chad seems to have heightened perceptions of need for a Council strategy to address the regional situation. Recently, a military commander serving with the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) noted that “if you want to solve, for example, the problem here in Darfur you will never achieve it without solving the problem in Chad.”

EUFOR contingents in Chad came under fire as government forces and rebels clashed in Goz-Beida, where tens of thousands of displaced civilians are located. The Chadian government complained that EUFOR had “cooperated with the invaders.” Observers say this underscores N’Djaména’s hope that the force will take sides and assist it against the rebels.

Rebels reportedly demanded that France and the EU should press the Chadian government into political reconciliation talks to be hosted by France.

On 16 June, the Council adopted a presidential statement, calling upon states in the region to implement the Dakar Agreement and expressing readiness to act against those who “constitute a threat to stability in the region or violate international humanitarian law.”

A Council mission visited Chad and Sudan in early June. In Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir reiterated complaints against Chad for supporting Darfur rebels. In Chad, the mission met Prime Minister Youssouf Saleh Abbas.

The Dakar Agreement Contact Group held a ministerial-level meeting on 9 June in Brazzaville to discuss plans to deploy a regional border monitoring force as provided for in the Agreement. A follow-up military experts’ meeting was held on 24 June in Senegal, when it was decided that Sudanese and Chadian troops would monitor the border together with regional military observers. It is unclear if and when this deployment will materialise.

On 21 June, the CAR government and two major rebel groups signed a comprehensive peace agreement in Libreville, a move seen as essential for a planned national political reconciliation conference. However, the rebel Front démocratique pour le peuple centrafricain (FDPC) did not sign as reportedly its leadership in Libya feared arrest in connection with proceedings at the International Criminal Court. The conference also faces challenges regarding rebel demands for security guarantees and amnesty.

At press time, a joint UN-EU technical assessment mission was dispatched to Chad and the CAR to prepare a study on post-EUFOR arrangements, in preparation for the Secretary-General’s report in September.

Related Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
On 30 May, in a letter from the Council’s President to the PBC Chairman, the Council referred the CAR for consideration by the PBC in response to a request from Bangui. On 12 June, the Commission placed the CAR on its agenda, and Belgium was elected to chair the CAR country-specific configuration. Likely next steps in the short-term include agreement on the membership of the PBC’s CAR configuration and discussions with the government on peacebuilding priorities.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • continuing the low-key approach;
  • requesting the Secretary-General to provide recommendations for an explicit political reconciliation mandate for MINURCAT (and perhaps a separate UN envoy) in Chad;
  • increasing pressure on N’Djaména, the rebels and the political opposition to take concrete steps towards all-inclusive dialogue; and
  • adopting a more proactive regional approach to the Chad/Sudan situations, including perhaps regular interactions between Council experts and the Dakar Agreement Contact Group.

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Key Issues
The only issue on which the Council must take a decision is whether to replace EUFOR with a UN force. However, this issue does not require an immediate decision.

But a key underlying issue—of importance in its own regard—but critical if UN peacekeepers are to replace EUFOR, is whether to start discussing political reconciliation in Chad and the CAR and an integrated regional strategy more seriously. However, at this time Council members feel overstretched due to increased activity on other issues in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Darfur, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The underlying issues also include:

  • the deteriorating relations between Chad and Sudan, and the related potential for a regionalised war;
  • the lack of progress with political reconciliation in Chad; and
  • security risks if peacekeepers are dragged into the conflict.

Council and Wider Dynamics
The Council has so far coalesced around a low-key approach to issues in Chad and CAR. It has been reluctant to ask N’Djaména to address the political situation in Chad or to seriously address Chad-Sudan relations, and instead has limited itself to expressing concern with emerging developments and support for reconciliation initiatives. In part, this is connected to strong reservations from France and Libya.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

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

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/22 (16 June 2008) was a recent statement on the June rebel offensive in Chad.
  • 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 would have an impact on stability in the region.
  • S/PRST/2008/3 (4 February 2008) contained an expression of support for external military assistance to the Chadian government.

Security Council Visiting Mission

  • S/2008/460 (15 July 2008) was the report of the Council mission to Africa.
  • S/PV.5915 (18 June 2008) was a briefing on the Council mission to Africa.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/410 (23 June 2008) was the most recent BONUCA report.
  • S/2008/215 (1 April 2008) was the most recent MINURCAT report.

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 31 May 2008: 124 police and 21 military observers
  • Main police contributors: France, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Egypt
  • 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 April 2008: 28 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: Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo and Gabon

FOMUC: Duration

October 2002 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2011

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