Recent developments on the situations covered in this Forecast are addressed in the relevant briefs. Interesting developments on other issues in the Council during April included:
Haiti: On 6 April the Council heard a briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti Hédi Annabi on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2009/129). He said that in order to consolidate Haiti’s stability, progress must be made in addressing five interlinked challenges: political dialogue; extension of state authority; strengthening security; strengthening the rule of law and human rights; and socioeconomic development. He added that the resolution of political differences through dialogue remains the cornerstone of advancement in all other areas. He also insisted on the need for the international community to continue to support Haiti. The briefing was followed by an open debate at the initiative of Mexico (S/PV.6101 and resumption 1). The Council then adopted a presidential statement urging donors to make available technical and financial assistance required by the Haitian government to meet the country’s immediate and long term development needs (S/PRST/2009/4).
On 14 April the Inter-American Development Bank hosted an international donors’ conference on Haiti in Washington DC. Donors pledged $324 million in additional aid to Haiti over the next two years, of which $41 million will be dedicated to budget support in 2009.
Central African Republic (CAR): On 7 April the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/5) welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendation, in his letter dated 3 March (S/2009/128), to establish a UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) to succeed the UN Peacebuilding Office. The Council requested the Secretary-General to inform it in his next report in June on the situation of CAR, on the structure and strength of BINUCA.
Djibouti/Eritrea: On 7 April the Council was briefed by Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on the situation between Djibouti and Eritrea. The Secretary-General reported on 30 March in a two page letter that Eritrea had not complied with the Council’s demands and that he intended to pursue his contacts with the parties (S/2009/163). In a letter to the Council on 6 April Djibouti called for implementation of resolution 1862 but said that pending a final report from the Secretary-General, there was no need for any new Council statement as it risked undermining the resolution. Subsequently, there was no Council statement following the briefing, but it was agreed that the Council president (Mexico) would request a meeting with Eritrea’s permanent representative to express the Council’s concerns (which since took place) and that Pascoe would continue his good offices efforts and report back to the Council at a later stage.
Guinea-Bissau: On 9 April the Council adopted a presidential statement welcoming the convening of the presidential election for 28 June 2009 and urged the government and all political actors to create the most conducive conditions for the holding of a free, fair, transparent and credible presidential election (S/PRST/2009/6). It also reiterated the importance of security sector reform in Guinea-Bissau and expressed concern about the growth in illegal drug trafficking, as well as transnational organised crime in that country and in the subregion.
Presidential Statement on the Resurgence of Coups d’état in Africa: At press time the draft presidential statement on coups d’état in Africa circulated to Council members on 9 April by Uganda (please see our 15 April Update Report) had yet to be adopted. There were apparently divisions in the Council on the scope of the statement, as one P5 member in particular did not want the text to be limited only to coups in Africa. At the time of writing it looked like consensus was within reach and that the text could be ready for adoption during the first week of May.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK): On 13 April the Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the 5 April launch of a rocket by the DPRK, saying it was in contravention of resolution 1718, demanding that the DPRK does not conduct any further launch and agreeing by 24 April to adjust measures imposed on the DPRK in resolution 1718 through the designation of goods and entities subject to sanctions (the 1718 Sanctions Committee had so far been inactive, and although a list of prohibited items for exports to the DPRK was in place, the Committee had never adopted a list of individuals and entities subject to targeted sanctions). The statement also supported the resumption of the six-party talks (S/PRST/2009/7). The DPRK reacted immediately by expelling all UN and US nuclear inspectors at the Yongbyon nuclear plant and by saying it would boycott the six-party talks.
On 24 April the 1718 Sanctions Committee designated three North Korean entities to be subject to assets freeze (SC/9642). In addition, a list of items, equipment, goods and technology which are prohibited from being exported and imported to and from the DPRK, was updated by the Committee in document S/2009/205, including recent technology relevant to ballistic missiles. This was immediately rejected by the DPRK.
Iraq: On 16 April the Council was briefed in closed consultations by UN Controller and representative of the Secretary-General for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board for Iraq (IAMB), Jun Yamazaki, on the Development Fund for Iraq and the IAMB in accordance with resolution 1859. Also on 16 April, the Council received a briefing in closed consultations from Gennady Tarasov, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator for the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the repatriation of Kuwaiti property. The Council issued a press statement (SC/9637) noting the limited progress made on identifying human remains, noting that no progress had been made on locating Kuwaiti national archives and extending the financing of Tarasov’s mandate for six months. The Council issued a press statement (SC/9643) on 25 April condemning the bomb attacks in Baghdad and Diyala on 23 and 24 April, which caused numerous deaths and injuries.
Fiji: On 20 April the Council was briefed by the Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs on the situation in Fiji following the Fiji government’s 10 April decision to scrap its constitution. Following the briefing the president of the Council told the press that members of the Council were deeply concerned about the situation in Fiji where undemocratic decisions had been made, including the abrogation of the constitution (please see our 17 April Update Report on Fiji). The members of the Council described this as a step backwards and said that the democracy process needed to be restored. The president also expressed the hope that Fiji would resume “steadfast progress towards democracy and fair elections would be held at the soonest possible time.”
Mediation and Settlement of Disputes: On 21 April the Council held an open debate on Mediation and the Settlement of Disputes. In a presidential statement adopted at the end of the meeting, the Council recognised the importance of mediation in the various stages of peace processes and requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed of “action undertaken by him in promoting and supporting mediation and pacific settlement of disputes, ensuring coherence with the ongoing efforts to strengthen peacebuilding and peacekeeping” (S/PRST/2009/8).
Sri Lanka: On 24 April members of the Council held an informal interactive dialogue involving the Sri Lankan government; Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General’s Chief of Staff; and Catherine Bragg, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (please see our 21 April Update Report on Sri Lanka). Nambiar briefed the Council on his recent trip to Sri Lanka. Following the meeting the president of the Council in his remarks to the press said that Council members had expressed deep concern about the humanitarian situation in the Vanni region. Council members also condemned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelem (LTTE) for the use of civilians as human shields and for not allowing them to leave the area of conflict. They urged the LTTE to lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow for UN-assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians and to join the political dialogue to bring an end to the conflict. They also urged the parties to abide by international humanitarian law and allow international humanitarian agencies access to those affected by the conflict. They also called on the Sri Lankan government to extend all necessary support to the UN.
Chad/CAR: On 24 April Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council (S/PV.6111) on the Secretary-General’s first report on the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) since the transfer of authority from the EU Mission to the UN on 15 March (S/2009/199). Mulet said critical shortfalls in equipment weakened the force’s operational capability. MINURCAT’s military component, mandated to reach 5,200 troops, stood at 2,425 as of 22 April. Closed consultations followed the open briefing.
Côte d’Ivoire: On 28 April the Council received a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (S/2009/196). He noted that progress in the long delayed electoral process was now contingent on the evolution of the reunification of the country. The Council subsequently held private consultations with Choi, during which it was also briefed on the midterm report of the Group of Experts (S/2009/188) by the chairman of the Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico.
Children and Armed Conflict: At press time the Council was expected to adopt a presidential statement after an open debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 29 April. The debate focused on the Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (S/2009/158).
Western Sahara: At press time the Council was expected to extend the mandate for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), scheduled to be adopted on 30 April. The text presented by the US after consultations in the Group of Friends (France, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US) was reportedly very close to last year’s resolution. It did not make any reference to human rights which, just like last year, became one of the main divisive issues in the negotiations with all Council members. Several members outside the Group of Friends argued in favour of adding a human rights element, either by expanding MINURSO’s mandate to include human rights monitoring (Costa Rica and Uganda) or by taking up the Secretary-General’s call to the parties to engage in dialogue with the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.