November 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2008
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Status Update

Recent developments on the situations covered in this Forecast are addressed in the relevant briefs. Interesting developments on other issues in the Council during October included:

Sierra Leone: On 1 October the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) was established in Freetown to replace UNIOSIL whose mandate ended on 30 September.

North Korea: On 3 October the chairman of the DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata of Italy, briefed the Council in informal consultations.

DRC: On 3 October the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Alan Doss, briefed the Council in private consultations on the renewal of hostilities in eastern DRC. Doss proposed a plan prepared by MONUC for the disengagement of armed parties in North Kivu and called for temporary additional troops to mitigate the immediate security challenges. He also proposed an adjustment of the current troop configuration of MONUC within the current mandate and troop ceiling in order to enhance the mission’s efficiency. On 21 October the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2008/38) expressing concern about the resurgence of violence in the DRC and the humanitarian situation. It encouraged MONUC to reconfigure its forces and called on the governments in the region to cease all support to the armed groups in the eastern DRC and requested a comprehensive analysis and recommendations from the Secretary-General. On 27 October Lieutenant General Vicente Diaz de Villegas y Herrería of Spain, who had been appointed as Force Commander for MONUC seven weeks before, resigned citing personal reasons.

Georgia: On 9 October the Council adopted resolution 1839 (S/RES/1839) extending UNOMIG’s mandate on a technical basis for four months until 15 February 2009 as recommended by the Secretary-General in his 3 October report (S/2008/631). The Secretary-General said that “dramatic changes” following the outbreak of hostilities in South Ossetia in August had profoundly impacted the situation in the Georgian-Abkhaz zone as well as the conflict-settlement process. The lack of clarity over the future status of UNOMIG’s area of responsibility and the international mechanisms to be set up meant that it was too early to define UNOMIG’s future role. He also said there was uncertainty over which features of the Moscow Agreement would be retained. High-level talks between Georgia, Russia, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN took place in Geneva on 15 October. However, following procedural difficulties the meeting was suspended and it was agreed that discussions would be continued on 18 November. On 27 October the Council discussed the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia following a request from Russia for a briefing from the Secretariat.

Haiti: On 14 October the Council adopted resolution 1840 (S/RES/1840) renewing the mandate of MINUSTAH until 15 October 2009. The Council also recognised that recent hurricanes and the food and fuel price crises had adversely affected Haiti’s long term stability and security situation. On the political side, it encouraged the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to facilitate dialogue between the Haitian government and relevant political actors to ensure implementation of the National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction Paper (DSNCRP). The resolution also invited members states to coordinate with MINUSTAH to address cross-border trafficking of persons, drugs, arms and other illegal activities. It strongly condemned the grave violations against children affected by armed violence including sexual abuse of girls and reaffirmed resolution 1820 (S/RES/1820). Finally, a greater coordination mandate with the UN country team was granted to MINUSTAH in order to insure greater efficiency in the implementation of the DSNCRP with the aim to achieve socioeconomic progress.

Afghanistan: On 14 October the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Kai Eide briefed the Council on the September report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan. Eide said the deteriorating security situation had distracted the international community from commitments undertaken during the Paris Conference in June. In spite of the worrying security situation, there had been positive developments: the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has improved, President Hamid Karzai has reshuffled his cabinet, and there had been a reduction in poppy production. There was no formal outcome.

Sudan: On 15 October the Council adopted resolution 1841 (S/RES/1841) extending until 15 October 2009 the mandate of the Sudan sanctions Panel of Experts. The panel’s recommendations are yet to be considered by the Council. On 28 October the Council received a briefing from Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy. Earlier on 17 October the Secretary-General released his UNAMID report. According to the report conditions required for an effective peacekeeping operation remain absent in Darfur as the government and the parties continue to pursue a military solution to the conflict, while little progress has been made in the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. UNAMID is expected to be at 60 percent authorised strength by the end of 2008. On 21 October the Secretary-General released his quarterly report on UNMIS. The Council’s debate on UNMIS was scheduled for October but is now expected in November. At press time it was unclear whether Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, would brief the Council. On 27 October five Chinese oil workers seized in Kordofan were killed.

Security Council Elections: On 17 October Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Austria and Turkey were elected to the Security Council by the General Assembly. These five new non-permanent members will start their two year term on 1 January 2009, replacing South-Africa, Indonesia, Panama, Belgium and Italy.

Peacebuilding Commission: On 21 October the Council held a debate to consider the second annual report of the PBC (S/PV.5997). Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, chair of the PBC, the representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone (two of the four countries on the Commission’s agenda) as well as representatives of the EU and Nordic countries were among those who spoke at the meeting. In an earlier related development, the General Assembly report considered the second annual reports of the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund respectively in a joint debate on 9 October.

Northern Uganda/LRA: On 21 October the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2008/38) condemning attacks in the Orientale Province of the DRC by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army and recalled the International Criminal Court indictments against the LRA leadership.

Middle East: The Council was briefed by Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on 22 October and held its monthly consultations on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question (S/PV.5999). During the briefing, Mr. Pascoe reported on the 26 September meeting of the Quartet where the principals agreed that spring 2009 could be an appropriate time for an international meeting in Moscow on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On the ground, he said, the situation has not improved. In particular, Israeli-Palestinian violence has continued. Israel should enforce the rule of law and prevent settler violence against Palestinian civilians. He also pointed out that Israeli settlement construction continues and that there has been no progress on other Israeli key Annapolis commitments including the removal of outposts and opening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem. There also has been no improvement in the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza. Finally, there have been no further indirect Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations, but Egyptian efforts to reunite the West Bank and Gaza within the framework of the Palestinian Authority have continued.

Eritrea/Djibouti: On October 23 the President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, addressed the Council in an open meeting (S/PV.6000). Guelleh called on the Council to address the conflict between Eritrea and Djibouti in a “timely and comprehensive manner”, in particular by requiring that both countries try to resolve the crisis within a period of approximately three weeks with the help of the good offices of the UN and a legal process of arbitration. In his response, Ambassador Araya Desta of Eritrea denied that his country had taken any land belonging to Djibouti and drew attention instead to Eritrea’s border conflict with Ethiopia. Most Council members focused their remarks on Eritrea’s lack of cooperation and refusal to withdraw its troops to their original position. There was no formal Council action.

Côte d’Ivoire: On 8 October the Group of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire submitted their final report (S/2008/598) to the Council’s sanctions committee on that country. On 29 October the Council extended the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Group of Experts in resolution 1842 (S/RES/1842). On 13 October the Secretary-General submitted his latest UNOCI report (S/2008/645) to the Council. On 27 October the Council held a public meeting during which it was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, who cautioned that increasing delays in the dual identification and electoral processes was endangering the hard-won peace and indicated that adequate financial resources had been secured for both processes (S/PV.6001).

International Court of Justice: The President of the ICJ, Rosalyn Higgins, will brief a closed session of the Security Council on 28 October.

Women, Peace and Security: On 29 October, the Council held an open debate on Women, Peace and Security. A presidential statement on the issue of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security was expected. (Please see our 21 October Update Report for more details.)

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