May 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 April 2010
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AFRICA

Chad/CAR

Expected Council Action

The Council is likely to renew but modify the mandate of MINURCAT, the peacekeeping operation in Chad and CAR which was rolled over until 15 May. A report from the Secretary-General on MINURCAT is due. A briefing by the head of UN peacekeeping, Alain Le Roy, is likely.

Informal consultations on the mandate of MINURCAT are likely to focus on the length of the new mandate and the number of troops that will remain in place.

Key Recent Developments
On 23 April, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy briefed the Council on negotiations with Chadian authorities on the future of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). Le Roy told the Council the Chadian authorities’ proposal was to reduce UN troops to 1,900 and that it is ready to assume the responsibility of protection of civilians.

On 10 April, the Irish government said the lack of certainty about the continuation of the UN mandate in addition to the approach of the rainy season were factors in its decision to withdraw its 400 peacekeepers from Chad.

On 8 April, during a personal visit to Paris, Chadian President Idriss Deby met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and discussed the future of MINURCAT. Although Deby maintains that the number of UN peacekeeping troops should be reduced, it was reported that he agreed to the renewal of the mandate until October.

In resolution 1861, the Council requested MINURCAT to focus on three main areas:

  • security and protection of civilians;
  • human rights and the rule of law; and
  • regional peace support.

Since its initial deployment in 2009, MINURCAT struggled to achieve full operational capability.

Humanitarian actors are concerned about the uncertain security situation in the eastern part of Chad and worry that a reduced number of MINURCAT troops will heighten risks for organisations delivering humanitarian aid into some areas. In the past year, the offices of humanitarian workers have been attacked and their vehicles have been looted, forcing some of the groups to suspend operations.

On 15 April, the border between Chad and Sudan reopened after seven years. It had been closed since the beginning of the Darfur conflict. Currently, Sudan and Chad military personnel monitor the border. The two countries agreed on 5 February to deploy some 3,000 troops along the border to end cross-border rebel attacks from the both sides.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), unpredictable security conditions continue. On 21 December 2009, the Council urged the government in a presidential statement to strengthen security sector reform while also completing disarmament and demobilisation before the national elections in 2010. On 24 March, the Lord’s Resistance Army killed and injured several people in the village of Boka. The rebel group also abducted an estimated fifty villagers.

The Secretary-General’s May report will likely update developments on the ground, including:

  • the Chadian government’s efforts to enhance national capacity to protect civilians and resolve the armed conflict in the east;
  • humanitarian operations to support sustainable voluntary return and resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees;
  • relations between Sudan and Chad and their impact on security in the eastern part of Chad; and
  • security sector reform by the CAR government, especially in the northeastern part of the country.

On 31 March, the Secretary-General named Youssef Mahmoud of Tunisia as his Acting Special Representative for MINURCAT, succeeding Victor da Silva Angelo of Portugal, who retired on 31 March.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is finding common ground on a resolution which accommodates, to some extent, the Chadian government’s wishes while also responding to the realities of the challenges on the ground.

A related issue is whether the Chadian government is committed and willing to enhance its capacity to protect civilians and deal with security risks in the eastern part of the country.

Another issue is whether and how a mission with fewer troops can support the humanitarian actors on the ground in their efforts to assist IDPs and refugees.

Underlying Problems
A key underlying problem is finding a comprehensive solution to the conflict in eastern Chad, which would allow a sustained return of IDPs and refugees. Such a solution depends on the management of local conflicts between ethnic groups, improved relations between Sudan and Chad and improved security in Darfur, but without a political mandate, MINURCAT has not been able to pursue concrete solutions to the underlying causes of the crisis in eastern Chad.

Options
As the discussion of MINURCAT’s mandate continues, options might include:

  • extending the mandate until October 2010 with modifications which would include a smaller number of troops;
  • supporting the Chadian government’s efforts in strengthening the rule of law through training; and
  • requesting the AU and regional actors to actively support efforts by Sudan, Chad and CAR to improve their relations so as to contribute to long-term peace and stability in the region.

Council Dynamics
While Council members support the efforts of the UN Secretariat, they are cautious about changing the mandate knowing that humanitarian and security challenges on the ground remain the same, including the presence of large numbers of IDPs and refugees in the east who cannot permanently return home until there is sustained security in their areas of return.

The decision of the Irish government to withdraw its peacekeeping troops from Chad is seen by some Council members as untimely, especially while negotiations with the Chadian authorities on the future of MINURCAT were continuing.

Most Council members are closely monitoring the efforts of the governments of Sudan and Chad to improve their relations, as this might lead to peace and stability in the region.

France has the lead in the Council on Chad-related issues; it has been conducting bilateral discussions, both in New York and at capital-level, with the Chadian authorities on the future of MINURCAT.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1913 (12 March 2010) rolled over MINURCAT’s mandate to 15 May 2010.
  • S/RES/1861 (14 January 2009) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate until 15 March 2010 and authorised the deployment of a military component to replace EUFOR.
  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) established MINURCAT and authorised EUFOR.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2009/35 (21 December 2009) welcomed on-going national reconciliation efforts in CAR.
  • S/PRST/2009/13 (8 May 2009) condemned renewed military incursions in eastern Chad by “Chadian armed groups, coming from outside.”
  • S/PRST/2008/22 (16 June 2008) was a statement on the June rebel offensive in Chad.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/535 (14 October 2009) was a report on MINUCRAT.
  • S/2009/277 (29 May 2009) was a report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
  • S/2009/214 (21 April 2009) was the letter transmitting the report on the activities of the EU military operation in Chad and CAR.

Other

  • S/PV.6204 (22 October 2009) was the verbatim record of the latest meeting of the Council on the situation in Chad and Central African Republic and the subregion.
  • SG/SM/12373 (20 July 2009) was the statement of the Secretary-General condemning violence in West Darfur, Chad and the Sudan border.
  • S/PV.6121 and S/PV.6122 (8 May 2009) were verbatim records of the Council meetings to discuss renewed cross-border rebel activity in Chad.
  • S/2009/232 (6 May 2009) was a letter from Chad requesting a Council meeting on the situation between Chad and Sudan.
  • S/2009/231 (5 May 2009) was the note verbale from the Chadian government accusing Sudan of facilitating the renewed cross-border rebel activity.

Other Relevant Facts

Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Youssef Mahmoud (Tunisia)

MINURCAT

  • Authorised strength as of 14 January 2009: 300 police, 25 military liaison officers, 5,200 military personnel and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
  • Strength as of 28 February 2010: 3,812 total uniformed personnel, including 3,351 troops, 24 military observers, and 259 police officers, as well as 428 international civilian personnel, 504 local civilian staff, and 143 UN volunteers.
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France.
  • Main military contributors: France and Ireland.
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2009–30 June 2010: $690.75 million
  • Duration: September 2007 to present; mandate expires 15 May 2010

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