March 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 February 2011
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Expected Council Action
In March the Council is scheduled to receive a report from the new chair of the Sudan Sanctions Committee, Colombia’s Ambassador, Néstor Osorio, and the Sudan Sanctions Committee expects to receive a report from its panel of experts by 31 March.

But Council members are expected to also be paying close attention to developments in Darfur and Southern Sudan. However, no formal action was foreseen at press time.

Key Recent developments
On 14 October 2010 the Council renewed the mandate of the panel of experts of the 1591 (Sudan) Sanctions Committee until 19 October 2011. The Council requested the panel to provide to the Committee an interim report no later than ninety days after the adoption of the resolution (i.e. mid-January 2011) and a midterm briefing on its work by no later than 31 March. The Secretary-General informed the Council on 19 January that he had appointed three of the five experts, with the two additional experts to be “appointed shortly.” The experts appointed cover aviation, international humanitarian law and finance. On 7 February the Secretary-General announced a fourth appointment, covering regional issues. At press time an expert on arms had yet to be appointed, although it seems a candidate has been identified. As the full panel has yet to be appointed, the Council has revised its reporting timeline. The interim report is now due 31 March. The midterm briefing is now due 30 June. The Sudan Sanctions Committee met members of the panel for the first time on 23 February.

In resolution 1891—which established the previous panel of experts of the Sudan Sanctions Committee—the Council had requested the panel to provide the Council a final report with its findings and recommendations no later than thirty days prior to the end of its mandate. The panel submitted this report to the Sudan Sanctions Committee ahead of the Council’s consideration of renewing the sanctions regime in October 2010. The sanctions regime was extended until October 2011. However, China abstained on the decision explaining it had serious concerns over the panel’s annual report and the manner in which the panel had undertaken its work. The sanctions committee conveyed the report to the Council in late November. At press time the Council had yet to decide to publish the report.

On 7 February the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission confirmed the official results that 98.83 percent of voters had voted for independence. On the same day, Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir signed a decree confirming his government’s acceptance of the result. On 13 February officials from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in southern Sudan confirmed that the name of the new state will be South Sudan.

The Security Council met on 9 February and recognised the historic nature of the referendum results in a presidential statement. The Council heard briefings from the head of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Haile Menkerios, and the chair of the Secretary-General’s panel on the referenda in the Sudan, Benjamin Mkapa. It also heard a statement from the chair of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on the Sudan, Thabo Mbeki, and the minister of regional cooperation of the Government of Southern Sudan, Deng Alor Kuol. The permanent representative of Sudan to the UN asked the Council to reconsider its position toward Bashir and reward the Sudanese president for implementing such a key part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)—which seems to have been interpreted as a request for the Council to consider applying Article 16 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and suspending the arrest warrants against Bashir.

Regarding the future UN role following the end of the UNMIS mandate in July, Menkerios informed the Council that the Government of Southern Sudan has indicated it would welcome continued UN engagement in support of peace consolidation, institutional capacity-building and border management. Regarding the north, Menkerios said he was currently discussing with authorities the areas in which they may seek UN cooperation. Menkerios also highlighted possible UN engagement relating to unresolved issues and the implementation of post-referendum arrangements—perhaps related to Abyei or border demarcation—that was part of the agenda of the current talks between the parties to the CPA.

On 31 January, at the meeting of heads of state and government of the AU, the AU leaders issued a declaration in which they congratulated Sudan on the successful conduct of the referendum, hailed the courage of the leaders of northern and southern Sudan, called upon Sudan’s external creditors to relieve its debt and called upon the UN Security Council to invoke Article 16 of the Rome Statute and suspend the ICC’s actions against Bashir.

There have been two significant violent incidents since the referendum results were announced. On 3 to 5 February, the airport in Malakal, Upper Nile State was closed due to fighting within the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) made up of northern and southern Sudanese soldiers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). Fifty-four soldiers were killed and 85 were wounded. A national staff member of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) was killed in crossfire. The fighting seemed to stem from the hasty dissolution of the JIU, which led northern troops to try to relocate JIU equipment, including tanks and other materiel, back to northern Sudan. Southern troops objected to the relocation, and violence ensued. Forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) were not involved. Rather, they have deployed to Malakal to restore calm, along with UNMIS troops.

On 9 February forces loyal to former SPLA commander George Athor blew up two SPLA trucks with landmines near the town of Fangak in Jonglei State. Fresh fighting broke out on 10 February between Athor’s troops and the SPLA. On 15 February an official from the Government of Southern Sudan who visited Jonglei said that over 200 people had died, including 154 civilians—mainly women and children—who were “massacred” when they were chased into a river by Athor’s troops. Officials from the area have estimated that over 1,000 people are unaccounted for and up to 20,000 had been displaced by the violence. Athor split from SPLM leadership and took up arms following the elections in April 2010, alleging fraud after he lost the election for Governor of Jonglei. Athor signed a ceasefire agreement in early January 2011.

On 9 February the southern Sudanese minister for cooperatives and rural development, Jimmy Lemi Milla, was killed by a former employee inside his office. The murder does not seem to have been politically motivated.

On 10 February the Government of Sudan announced its negotiating team would return to Doha to resume negotiations with Darfur rebel groups, more than one month after its withdrawal from negotiations.

Key Issues
An issue on sanctions for Council members is determining when to release the final report of the previous panel of experts.

A key issue for Council members relating to the situation in Southern Sudan and the CPA is implementation of the remaining aspects of the CPA, in particular regarding the situation in Abyei, border demarcation and meaningful popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan States. A further issue is keeping abreast of developments regarding the negotiations related to the establishment of the new state of South Sudan, including wealth sharing, debt, currency and national symbols.

The Council could:

  • seek briefings from the Secretariat in March on progress on post-referendum negotiations, particularly regarding the situation in Abyei;
  • begin discussions at the expert level on the actions which will be required in April in light of the expiration of the UNMIS mandate; and
  • initiate planning at the expert level in consultation with DPKO and DPA on a UN presence in an independent South Sudan.

Council Dynamics
Compared to the previous six months, Council members hope that March will be a quiet month regarding their work on Sudan. Members are conscious, however, that the expiration of the UNMIS mandate in April is looming and some informal discussion of the necessary Council actions may be desirable.

Many Council members seem to want to pay close attention to the ongoing negotiations between the UN and Sudanese authorities on a future role for the UN in north and south Sudan.

On sanctions, the delay in release of the final report of the panel of experts seems to be due to the objections of China. There is a strongly held view amongst most Council members of the importance of releasing the final report to maintain Council transparency and follow accepted Council practices.

Despite the AU request that the Council consider applying Article 16 of the Rome Statute and suspend the ICC arrest warrants for Bashir, there seems to be little appetite in the Council to discuss this issue in the near future.

The US is the lead country in the Council on north-south issues. The UK is the lead country in the Council on Darfur.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1945 (14 October 2010) renewed the mandate of the Darfur Sanctions Panel of Experts.
  • S/RES/1935 (30 July 2010) renewed UNAMID.
  • S/RES/1919 (29 April 2010) renewed UNMIS.
  • S/RES/1593 (31 March 2005) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
  • S/RES/1591 (29 March 2005) and S/RES/1556 (30 July 2004) imposed sanctions.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

Selected Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6478 (9 February 2011) were briefings to the Council on the occasion of the formal announcement of the results of the Southern Sudan referendum.


  • S/PRST/2011/3 (9 February 2011) was the statement issued by the Council on the occasion of the announcement of the formal results of the Southern Sudan referendum.
  • S/2011/60 (7 February 2011) was a letter from the Secretary-General informing the Security Council of the appointment of one member of the panel of experts.
  • S/2011/27 (19 January 2011) was a letter from the Secretary-General informing the Security Council of the appointment of three members of the panel of experts.
  • S/2010/679 (30 December 2010) was the report of the Sudan Sanctions Committee covering the period 1 January to 31 December 2010.

Other Relevant Facts

UNAMID: Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur

Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria)

UNAMID: Force Commander

Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba (Rwanda)

UNAMID: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 19,555 military personnel, 3,772 police and 19 formed police units (total police 6,432)
  • Main troop contributors: Nigeria, Rwanda, Egypt and Ethiopia
  • Military strength as of 31 December 2010: 17,467 military personnel
  • Police Strength as of 31 December 2010: 4,977 police personnel
  • Annual Budget: $1.81 billion
  • Duration: 31 July 2007 to present; mandate expires 31 July 2011. 

UNMIS: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of Mission

Haile Menkerios (South Africa)

UNMIS: Force Commander

Maj. Gen. Moses Bisong Obi (Nigeria)

UNMIS: Size, Composition, Cost and Duration

  • Maximum authorised strength: up to 10,000 military and 715 police personnel
  • Main troop contributors: India, Bangladesh, Egypt and Pakistan
  • Military strength as of 31 December 2010: 9,780 military personnel
  • Police Strength as of 31 December 2010: 636 police personnel
  • Annual Budget: $938 million
  • Duration: 24 March 2005 to present; mandate expires 30 April 2011. 

Sanctions Committee Chairman

Néstor Osorio (Colombia)

Panel of Experts

  • Rajiva Sinha (India), finance and coordinator of the panel
  • Michael Lewis (UK), aviation
  • Hesham Nasr (Egypt), international humanitarian law
  • Jérôme Tubiana (France), regional
  • Vacant, arms

Joint AU-UN Chief Mediator

Djibril Yipènè Bassolé (Burkina Faso)

Full forecast


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