Recent developments on the situations covered in this Forecast are addressed in the relevant briefs. Interesting developments on other issues in the Council during March included:
Lebanon: On 10 March the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Michael Williams, briefed the Council in consultations on the latest Secretary-General’s report on implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2009/119). The Council then held consultations.
Iran: On 10 March the Council was briefed by the Chairman of the 1737 Sanctions Committee on Iran, Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu. He said that the Committee had received a letter from a member state seeking guidance regarding its inspection of a vessel carrying its flag and coming from Iran that had been found to be transporting arms related material. Iran was therefore in violation of resolution 1747 prohibiting it to supply, sell or transfer any arms and related material. After the briefing, the US expressed concern about Iran’s continued noncompliance with Council demands but said that it was prepared for principled engagement with Iran. The same concerns were emphasised by France and the UK (S/PV.6090).
Chad/CAR: On 17 March Edmund Mullet, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council in closed consultations on the transfer of authority on 15 March from the EU Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (EUFOR) to a UN military component for the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The Council issued a press statement welcoming the successful transfer, stressing the importance of a further improvement of regional relations, and encouraging the authorities and political stakeholders in Chad and CAR to continue to pursue their efforts of national dialogue (SC/9614).
Cooperation with Regional Organisations:On 18 March the Council held a public meeting to consider the report (S/2008/813) of the joint AU-UN panel set up by the Secretary-General to review options for supporting AU peacekeeping operations. The meeting, chaired by Libya’s Minister for African Affairs Ali Treiki, had high-level participation, including by the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU, Ramtane Lamamra, and the chair of the panel, Romano Prodi, former prime minister of Italy, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. A presidential statement was adopted in conclusion requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report by 18 September that will include a detailed assessment of the recommendations contained in the AU-UN Panel report, in particular those on financing, as well as on the establishment of a joint AU-UN team (S/PRST/2009/3).
Afghanistan: On 19 March Kai Eide, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, briefed the Council in an open debate on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2009/135 ). Eide said donor coordination was a major concern and priority of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) mandate. He said a major problem was that some donor countries had national strategies that they were not willing to adjust. Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN said more should be achieved in the areas of governance, corruption, judiciary reform and the Afghan National Police. On 23 March the Council extended the mandate of UNAMA for a further 12 months (S/RES/1868). The Council requested an increase in frequency of reporting from the Secretary-General (every three months as opposed to every six) and the development of benchmarks for tracking progress in the implementation of UNAMA’s mandate.
Liberia: In her briefing to the Council in closed consultations on 19 March the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Ellen Margrethe Løj said the security situation in Liberia was stable, but fragile. She said that regional problems, including drug trafficking, had increased since her last briefing. It would still take time to build up national security sector capacity and more funding was needed. Elections scheduled for 2011 would be an important test for Liberia.
Kosovo:On 23 March the Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Lamberto Zannier on the situation in Kosovo. The Secretary-General’s report (S/2009/149) covered activities from 1 November 2008 to 9 March 2009 and indicated that the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was facing increasing challenges as the Kosovo authorities see the mission’s tasks as having been completed. In his briefing Zannier told the Council that although Kosovo has been stable, ethnic tensions persist. He also said that there was a need for leaders in Pristina and Belgrade to put the needs of Kosovo’s communities ahead of their political interests. He said that UNMIK had successfully reconfigured its rule of law elements and that by 1 July 2009 UNMIK will have refocused its staff on minority issues, returns and freedom of movement and issues related to cultural heritage as set out in the Secretary-General’s June 2008 report.
Middle East: On 25 March the Council heard a briefing from Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on the situation in the Middle East. He said very little progress had been made on key issues outlined in resolution 1860, including the establishment of a proper ceasefire regime in Gaza, unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance, opening of the crossings, prevention of illicit arms trafficking and intra-Palestinian reconciliation. He also called on Israel to stop house demolitions in East Jerusalem and to refrain from unilateral actions such as settlement activities that may prejudge final status issues. The Council held an open debate in which a number of delegations said that violations of international humanitarian law during the Gaza war needed to be investigated (including Austria, Mexico, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon). (S/PV.6100 and resumption 1)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: On 25 March the Council in resolution 1869 welcomed and agreed to the designation of Valentin Inzko of Austria as the next high representative for that country. In the resolution, the Council also paid tribute to the efforts of the outgoing High Representative Miroslav Lajcák.
Central African Republic:At press time a draft presidential statement welcoming the recommendation by the Secretary-General to establish a UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA) to succeed the current UN Peacebuilding Support Office (BONUCA) had been circulated among Council members by France. The statement was expected to be adopted during the week of 30 March.
Sri Lanka: On 26 March members of the Security Council held an interactive discussion on Sri Lanka in closed session. The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka was invited to participate. Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes briefed on the humanitarian situation and many members expressed their concerns.