July 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 June 2009
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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 June included:

DPRK: On 25 May the DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test, followed by the launch of a short-range missile. After three weeks of negotiations held in strict confidentiality, first among the P5 plus Japan and South Korea, and then among all Council members, the Council on 12 June adopted resolution 1874 condemning the nuclear test, expanding the existing arms embargo, authorising inspection of cargoes to and from the DPRK, as well as vessels on the high seas, prohibiting financial services and transfers to the DPRK that could be linked to weapons related activities and authorising asset freezes in this regard, and calling upon states and international institutions not to provide new financial assistance or trade support to the DPRK, except for humanitarian or development assistance. The Council also decided that the 1718 Sanctions Committee would adjust its measures within thirty days, through the designation of additional entities, goods, and individuals. The Committee is due to submit a report to the Council by 15 July. Finally, it requested the Secretary-General to establish a panel of experts to monitor and verify implementation of the sanctions measures.

Northern Uganda and LRA-Affected Areas: On 26 May the Secretary-General wrote to the Security Council about suspending the assignment of his Special Envoy for his LRA-affected areas Joaquim Chissano as of 30 June 2009 (S/2009/281). (Chissano’s office had originally been authorised through December 2009.) In a letter dated 29 May the Security Council thanked Chissano for his contribution to the northern Uganda peace process (S/2009/282).

Iraq: On 2 June the Council received the latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMI (S/2009/284). In it, the Secretary-General emphasised that national reconciliation remained the main priority, in particular for the sharing of natural resources and disputed internal boundaries. Also, attacks against civilians were continuing and tensions were rising in the north. He highlighted that important electoral processes were ongoing. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq, Staffan de Mistura, briefed the Council on 18 June. This was followed by a debate with the participation of Iraq (S/PV.6145). The Council then adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/17) reaffirming its support to the Iraqi government and to UNAMI, in particular for helping the return of refugees, promoting dialogue and providing electoral assistance.

Counter-Terrorism: On 4 June the Council received a report on Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate activities as part of the interim review requested in resolution 1805 of 2008 (S/2009/289). The Council held consultations on it on 11 June and heard a briefing by France, the acting chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

Tribunals: On 4 June the Council held a debate on the International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY/ICTR) where they were briefed by prosecutors for each court on their respective completion strategies (S/2009/252 and S/2009/247). It released a press statement the same day (SC/9670).

Sri Lanka: On 5 June the Secretary-General held an informal interactive dialogue with the Council and Sri Lankan representatives on his 23 May visit to Sri Lanka (please see our 4 June Update Report on Sri Lanka). No action was taken.

Iran: On 5 June the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on implementation of Council resolutions in Iran was published (GOV/2009/35). It found that the number of centrifuges enriching uranium had increased and that Iran has continued to produce low enriched uranium at a slightly higher rate. It also found that Iran had continued to deny IAEA inspectors access to certain nuclear sites including Arak.

On 15 June, the Chairman of the 1737 Sanctions Committee, Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu, briefed the Council on the committee’s recent activities. He said that two states had still not provided additional information on the recent violation of the arms export ban to Iran despite the Committee’s request. Concerns over the findings of the IAEA report were expressed by the US, the UK, France, and Mexico. Those members, in addition to China and Russia, also reiterated the need for engagement with Iran (S/PV.6142).

Sierra Leone: On 8 June the Council was briefed in an open meeting (S/PV.6137) by the executive representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), Michael von der Schulenburg, on the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNIPSIL (S/2009/267). The chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) country configuration on Sierra Leone, Ambassador John McNee of Canada, highlighted the findings of his recent visit to the country and the preparations for the PBC’s 10 June high-level special session on Sierra Leone. Also participating in the meeting was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, Zainab Hawa Bangura, who told the Council of the peace consolidation efforts of the Sierra Leonean government.

Burundi: On 9 June the Council was briefed in an open meeting (S/PV.6138) by the head of the UN Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB), Youssef Mahmoud, on the fifth report of the Secretary-General on BINUB (S/2009/270).

Georgia: On 15 June the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) ended when a draft resolution failed by a vote of 10 in favour to 1 against (Russia), with four abstentions (China, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam) (S/PV.6143). The vetoed resolution (S/2009/310) had asked for a two-week extension of UNOMIG’s mandate to allow more time for negotiations on a new security regime in the region. The Secretary-General’s report (S/2009/254) of 18 May had presented recommendations for a new security regime.

Kosovo: On 17 June the Council held a debate on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (S/PV.6144). The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo presented the latest Secretary-General’s report and briefed on UNMIK’s work and status of its restructuring. He told the Council that the three-phased reconfiguration was winding up and that UNMIK was shifting its focus towards a more diplomatic and political role. The Council released a press statement following the briefing (SC/9683).

Golan Heights: Following the latest Secretary-General’s report on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (S/2009/295), the Council on 19 June held a private meeting with UNDOF troop contributors, and then consultations. On 23 June the Council adopted a resolution renewing the UNDOF mandate until 31 December (S/RES/1875), although it appears that some members proposed a one year extension. According to its practice on this issue, the Council also adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/18) noting the Secretary-General’s observations that the situation in the Middle East would remain tense until a comprehensive settlement on all aspects of the Middle East can be reached.

Central African Republic: The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, on 22 June presented the latest report (S/2009/309) of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and on the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (BONUCA) to the Council, during an open meeting (S/PV.6147). Ambassador Jan Grauls of Blegium, Chair of the CAR configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) also briefed the Council on related activities by the Commission.

Guinea-Bissau: On 26 June in resolution 1876 the Council extended the mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS) until 31 December and requested the Secretary-General to establish a UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) to succeed UNOGBIS for an initial period of 12 months after that. On 23 June UNOGBIS head, Joseph Mutaboba, presented the Secretary-General’s report (S/2009/302) on Guinea-Bissau and UNOGBIS (S/PV.6149). The Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, updated the Council on the Commission’s activities. On 28 June presidential elections were held in Guinea-Bissau. Results were unavailable at press time.

Middle East: On 23 June the Council heard its monthly briefing on the situation in the Middle East. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, summarised the latest developments in the region. He said that although there had been a notable decrease in violence, living conditions in Gaza remained of grave concern. He also mentioned that Israel had not been cooperative with the Human Rights Council fact-finding mission in Gaza. And he added that Israel had failed to implement a freeze on all settlements activity, that Hamas must reevaluate its stance on a two-state solution and the resort to violence against civilians, and that Fatah needs to face the challenge of internal reform (S/PV.6150).

Liberia: On 25 June the Council met in closed consultations to hear a briefing by Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on the Secretary-General’s special report on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) issued on 10 June (S/2009/299). It also heard a briefing by the Chairman of the Liberia Sanctions Committee on the mid-term report of the Liberia Panel of Experts (S/2009/290). Discussions reportedly focused mainly on the Secretary-General’s proposed drawdown plan for UNMIL and revealed that divisions remain, mainly between the US and France, on whether to aim for more ambitious reductions in the third drawdown stage. Most members were supportive of the Secretary-General’s recommendations.

Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: On 26 June the Council held an open debate on protection of civilians. John Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, gave a briefing on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the issue (S/2009/277), which provides an assessment of the first ten years of Council action on protection as a thematic issue and identifies key challenges. Holmes noted that much greater effort was needed to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law, as well as accountability for violations. He stated that the Council should consistently condemn violations and demand compliance and also apply targeted sanctions in cases of non-compliance, request reports on violations and mandate commissions of inquiry. He also said that the Council should seek compliance with international humanitarian law by non-state actors. In regards to UN peacekeeping operations, he stressed the importance of providing clear and practical guidance to heads of missions and force commanders on implementing protection mandates, developing mission-specific protection strategies and spreading best practice innovations. Ensuring adequate resources was also important. Finally, Holmes focused on the need to improve humanitarian access, referring to the annex on access included in the Secretary-General’s report and calling for Council action. (S/PV.6151 and res. 1)

Peacekeeping: At the time of writing the Council was expected to hold a public debate on UN peacekeeping on 29 June on the relationship with troop contributing countries and police contributing countries. Major troop and financial contributors are expected to participate. The Council is also expected to be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy and Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Field Support Susana Malcorra. (Please see our 25 June Update Report on Peacekeeping.)

Afghanistan: At the time of writing the Council was expected to hold a debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 30 June. It follows the Secretary-General’s first report (S/2009/323) on UNAMA since the 23 March adoption of resolution 1868 requesting more frequent reports.
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