July 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 June 2008
Download Complete Forecast: PDF


Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which expires on 31 July. A resolution is expected, and it is likely to be the focus for significant new efforts in the Council to address:

  • the ongoing violence and deteriorating humanitarian situation;
  • the lack of full cooperation from Sudan with UNAMID’s deployment;
  • UNAMID’s asset shortfalls; and
  • lack of progress with a ceasefire and peace talks.

The Secretary-General’s quarterly report on the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS, deployed in the south) is also expected. The report is expected to include an assessment and recommendations regarding UNMIS’ role in the contested Abyei area. It is unclear whether the report will be discussed in July or August.

Key Recent Developments
The situation in Sudan and the region continued to deteriorate in June. During a Council visit, members were informed that the World Food Programme may have to cut food rations to civilians in need in Darfur for the second time in recent weeks because of insecurity. Funding shortfalls have also led to cuts in humanitarian flights in Sudan.

In late May, a Ugandan officer serving under UNAMID was found dead in his vehicle near El Fasher. Under Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno reportedly said that the incident underscored the challenges faced by the mission’s lack of resources. Also in late May, a UNAMID convoy was ambushed and robbed by unidentified men.

In early June, the mediation team held a meeting with regional and international partners in Geneva. The discussions came amidst increasingly grim prospects for the peace process. The team had been focusing on increasing security and confidence through a ceasefire and UNAMID’s deployment, but progress has been elusive. The government recently ruled out negotiations with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and main rebel groups have refused to start negotiations with Khartoum.

A new position of joint chief mediator is being established by the Secretary-General and the AU to provide full-time leadership, based in Sudan, to the mediation team. (Observers point out that the chief mediator should be based in Darfur, as it would be the best location in terms of effectiveness and reach.) AU Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim and UN Envoy Jan Eliasson will continue to provide support and input. It is unclear when the appointment will be made.

On 24 June, Salim and Eliasson briefed the Council. Eliasson said that the parties have not been willing to come together for substantive talks, citing as challenges rebel fragmentation, competition and in-fighting. He also recognised that the movements lack trust in the government in view of its track record with existing agreements. “Continued attacks against civilians and resettlement on land owned by people now languishing in the camps do not foster an atmosphere of confidence,” he said.

The envoys called for effective deployment of UNAMID, improvement in Chad-Sudan relations and efforts to end the arms flow. Salim also suggested a high-level meeting with the Secretary-General, the AU, Council permanent members, Sudan and regional and international partners, to “chart the way forward” in the political track. (Some observers, however, prefer delaying such a meeting until the new chief mediator is appointed and presents a follow-on strategy.) Eliasson further suggested that the mandate of the new chief mediator incorporates a regional outlook.

There is interest in considering a separate track for discussions on humanitarian issues. A workshop on improving humanitarian access and respect for international humanitarian law has been tentatively scheduled for 10-11 July in Geneva with major rebel groups and aid organisations. Separate discussions with the government may also be held at a later stage.

UNAMID’s force and asset-generation difficulties persist. The mission continues to lack critical assets such as helicopters, surveillance aircraft, engineering units and logistical support, which may affect the recent ambitious plan to reach 80 percent deployment by late 2008. UNMIS engineering assets are expected to be lent to UNAMID, but insecurity and government bureaucracy are hampering troop rotations and transportation of equipment, which may now need to be airlifted into Darfur.

The mission apparently expects a growth to 13,000 troops in the next three to four months as Egyptian, Ethiopian, Thai and Nepalese contingents arrive.

A Council mission visited Chad and Sudan in early June. Issues discussed include Sudanese cooperation with UNAMID, the peace process, cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the north-south situation. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir reiterated complaints against Chad for supporting Darfur rebels. Bashir also reportedly reiterated that Khartoum will not cooperate with the ICC.

In mid-June, Chadian rebels launched a new offensive and briefly took over a number of towns in eastern Chad, threatening a new attack on N’Djaména. Chad repeated accusations of Sudanese support for rebel groups. Observers have voiced increasing concerns about the intensification of a perceived proxy war between the two countries.

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

On 5 June, the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, presented his regular briefing on Darfur to the Council. He informed the Council that the Sudanese government is not cooperating with the Court and is not complying with resolution 1593 (in which the Council decided that the Sudanese government and all other parties to the conflict shall cooperate with the Court and the Chief Prosecutor). He recommended that the Council call on the government to stop the crimes and arrest two suspects indicted for war crimes (Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb), and that all parties should assist the Court and comply with resolution 1593.

He also informed the Council that he would present a second case on Darfur to ICC judges in July. He noted that evidence “shows an organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack civilians, with the objective of physically and mentally destroying entire communities” and that “the commission of such crimes on such a scale, over a period of five years and throughout Darfur, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese State apparatus.”

On 16 June, after a Costa Rican initiative and following difficult negotiations, the Council adopted a presidential statement which recalled resolution 1593 and urged Sudan and all other parties to cooperate with the Court. (See our 11 June Update Reportfor more details.) On the same day, the EU said it was ready to consider measures against individuals responsible for non-cooperation with the ICC.

In early June, renewed clashes between government and southern forces in the contested region of Abyei raised new concerns about the future of the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the potential for a renewed north-south civil war. Dozens were killed and tens of thousands displaced by the violence, which included bombing and the burning of Abyei town to the ground.

On 8 June, the parties signed a roadmap on the return of displaced civilians and implementation of the Abyei Protocol (which is a separate part of the CPA dealing with the oil-rich region’s boundaries and administration as well as a 2011 referendum on its future status). The new agreement provides that:

  • joint integrated units comprising northern and southern forces will be deployed to the region, as the parties’ forces withdraw;
  • UNMIS will have freedom of movement and access in the area to carry out its mandate pursuant to the CPA (which had not been the case in recent years);
  • civilians shall return to former homesteads, with resources to be provided by the Sudanese government;
  • an interim administration will be appointed by the Sudanese presidency (a step mandated by the CPA but so far unfulfilled);
  • the parties will refer their dispute over the findings of the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) to arbitration. Should the parties fail to agree on terms of reference within one month, the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague shall finalise the process within 15 days. (The ABC’s final report was issued in July 2005, but President Bashir and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party rejected the findings.)

On 24 June, the Council adopted a statement welcoming the roadmap and encouraging full implementation. The statement also called on UNMIS to deploy robustly in the area to prevent escalation of the conflict in support of CPA implementation, and requested an assessment of UNMIS’ role vis-à-vis the recent violence and appropriate follow-up steps.

Considerable concern remains over other sensitive points in the CPA, including:

  • demarcation of north-south boundaries;
  • results from the recent census and the parties’ reactions;
  • wealth-sharing and transparency in oil revenues; and
  • arrangements for the 2009 elections, including an electoral law.

The situation in the south has also been complicated by setbacks in the Juba peace talks between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). In early June, LRA fighters reportedly attacked southern soldiers. (The LRA for years terrorised south Sudan, allegedly with support from the NCP. Some observers have voiced concern about a possible resumption of northern support.)

The most likely option for the Council in July is a resolution renewing UNAMID and reiterating past calls for a ceasefire, a peace process and cooperation with the mission’s deployment.

Another option would be to explore a more vigorous Council involvement in improving security and managing the regional situation, including:

  • steps toward supporting the establishment of a ceasefire and a peace process, including regular, informal interaction with the mediation team;
  • increasing pressure on the parties by expanding the list of individuals and entities subject to targeted sanctions and developing a wider spectrum of measures and trigger mechanisms;
  • establishing a new mechanism for closer Council monitoring of developments regarding UNAMID, perhaps mandating Council experts or the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to meet regularly with the Departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping, and troop-contributing countries; and
  • expanding the regional focus by organising informal interactions with the Chad-Sudan Dakar Agreement Contact Group, perhaps in an Arria-style format.

An additional option is for the Council to consider a more integrated approach to Sudan issues, including:

  • closer monitoring of the CPA’s implementation, perhaps through informal Secretariat briefings every thirty days; and
  • considering options for strengthening UNMIS, in close consultation with the Secretariat and the parties.

Key Issues
On Darfur, one key issue is whether there is anything the Council can do to support the mediation team on an ongoing basis and encourage the parties to move towards a genuine ceasefire and a peace process. Another is improving security and, in that context, how best to advance UNAMID’s deployment.

Justice and accountability issues are likely to remain in the minds of members in the light of the new cases to be presented by the ICC Chief Prosecutor.

The recent violence in Abyei resurrected the issue of whether the Council should increase its focus on the broader challenges facing Sudan. A related issue is whether there is anything the Council should do—including UNMIS’ role—on the north-south situation.

On the regional context, an urgent issue facing member states, the UN, the AU, the EU and other stakeholders is whether a more assertive approach is required.

Council and Wider Dynamics
Events in June—including the visiting mission, Chadian rebel attacks, instability in Abyei and ICC issues—seem to have heightened a sense of urgency in the Council about the delicate situation in Sudan and Chad.

There is a related feeling that more needs to be done regarding security—especially the need for a ceasefire and support for UNAMID. Some are also increasingly talking about the need to strengthen the arms embargo. But the strong divisions within the Council on how best to manage the situation and the lack of a collective, strategic vision seem to continue.

Some members—including the US, EU countries, Panama and Costa Rica— believe that more pressure on the Sudanese government regarding UNAMID and the ICC is essential. Others including China, Russia, Libya, Indonesia and South Africa continue to voice sympathy for the government’s concerns and think more pressure should be applied to the rebels to come to the negotiating table. They have viewed Khartoum’s cooperation with UNAMID as a technical matter best resolved through discussions between the Secretariat and the government. And there is still reluctance in the Council—especially from Libya and France—on a more proactive role vis-à-vis Chad-Sudan relations and the conflict in Chad.

There also seems to be some concern in the Council that UNMIS could and should do more regarding Abyei in particular, but there also seems to be acknowledgment of its challenging political environment and lack of adequate resources.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/24 (24 June 2008) was the statement on Abyei.
  • S/PRST/2008/22 (16 June 2008) was the recent statement on the Chadian rebel offensive.
  • S/PRST/2008/21 (16 June 2008) was the recent statement on Sudan’s cooperation with the ICC.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/400 (17 June 2008) was the latest UNAMID report.
  • S/2008/267 (22 April 2008) was the latest UNMIS report.

Selected Council Meeting Records

  • S/PV.5922 (24 June 2008) was the recent briefing by Eliasson and Salim.
  • S/PV.5915 (18 June 2008) was a briefing on the Council mission to Africa.
  • S/PV.5905 (5 June 2008) was the recent Ocampo briefing.


  • S/2008/460 (15 July 2008) was the report of the Security Council mission to Africa.
  • S/2008/373 (10 June 2008) contained Bashir’s statement delivered during the Council mission.
  • A/HRC/7/22 (3 March 2008) was the most recent Sudan human rights report to the Human Rights Council.
  • S/2007/584 (2 October 2007) was the latest Panel of Experts’ report.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Rodolphe Adada (Republic of Congo)

UN and AU Special Envoys

UN: Jan Eliasson (Sweden)
AU: Salim Ahmed Salim (Tanzania)

UNAMID: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units
  • Strength as of 31 May 2008: 7,605 troops, 154 observers, 1,804 police
  • Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal
  • Cost: 1 July 2007 – 30 June 2008: $1.28 billion

UNAMID: Duration

31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2008

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Ashraf Qazi (Pakistan)

UNMIS: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military and 715 police personnel
  • Strength as of 31 May 2008: 8,718 troops, 571 observers, and 635 police
  • Main troop contributors: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Cost: 1 July 2007-30 June 2008: $846.28 million

UNMIS: Duration

24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 30 April 2009


Full forecast