Liberia: On 3 March, the Council adoptedresolution 1971 that discontinued the authorisation of UNMIL military personnel to provide security for the Special Court of Sierra Leone in Freetown. On 16 March the head of UNMIL, Ellen Løj, briefed the Council on the situation in Liberia (S/PV.6495), followed by consultations. The chair of the Liberia configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, and the Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN, Marjon Kamara, also spoke.
Cyprus: On 15 March, Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer briefed Council members in consultations on the status of the negotiations in Cyprus (S/2011/112). In the briefing, Downer said that talks between the two sides have intensified, yet little substantive progress has been made on the difficult issues of property, territory, and security and guarantees. He said that upcoming elections in Cyprus and Turkey might stall progress in the negotiations in the near future.
Afghanistan: On 17 March, the Council held an open debate on Afghanistan (S/PV.6497) and received a briefing from the head of the UNAMA on the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/120). Permanent Representative of Afghanistan Zahir Tanin addressed the Council, as did Australia, Canada, Iran, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Turkey and the EU.On 22 March the Council adopted resolution 1974 renewing the mandate of UNAMA for 12 months and calling for a comprehensive review of UNAMA’s mandate before the end of 2011. The Council strengthened the language on the importance of Afghan leadership and the transition process, women’s rights, sustainability of electoral processes and the threat posed by illicit drugs.
Kenya: On 18 March, Council members held an interactive dialogue with the permanent representative of Kenya. AU representatives also attended. Kenya has been pursuing a deferral of the ICC proceedings and seeking a decision from the Council in accordance with Article 16 of the Rome Statute. On 31 January, the Assembly of the AU decided to support and endorse Kenya’s position, and requested the African members on the Security Council to place the issue on the Council’s agenda (Assembly/AU/Dec.334(XVI). During the interactive dialogue, Kenya argued that an Article 16 deferral would give it time to establish alternative domestic adjudicative mechanisms. Some Council members agreed that domestic adjudication was preferable under the complementarity principle of the Rome Statute, yet generally Council members were of the view that the situation in Kenya was not a threat to international peace and security such as justified the use of Article 16. Several members said that Council action is not warranted, and that a preferable venue for Kenya’s arguments was the ICC itself, where it can raise the issue under Article 19 of the Rome Statute. At the end of the meeting, the AU representative expressed the hope that the Council would discuss the issue in informal consultations. However, no meetings are planned.
Iran: On 22 March, the chair of the Iran sanctions Committee, Ambassador Néstor Osorio of Colombia, briefed the Council that the committee had received reports from two member states regarding two possible sanctions violations related to the ban on Iran procuring items that could be used in enrichment-related activities or for the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems (S/PV.6502). He said the number of reported sanctions violations is a matter of serious concern. However, the willingness of member states to report violations is positive and should be encouraged. Osorio also said that on 4 March the committee was briefed by the coordinator of the panel of experts who said that in the first eight weeks of its activities the panel discussed its programme of work, investigated a reported violation of the arms embargo and conducted an assessment of member state implementation reports.
Middle East: On 22 March, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the Council on developments related to the Quartet as well as various incidents (S/PV.6501). Council members continued in informal consultations and among the issues discussed was the next Quartet meeting in mid-April (postponed from March). European Council members stressed that they were looking for stronger language on parameters as this could be key to persuading the Palestinians to go back to the negotiating table. Russia also brought up its proposal for a Council mission to the Middle East. There was support from a number of Council members. There was also a general sense that unified Council messaging on a number of key issues related to the region is essential if such a mission takes place.
Peacebuilding Commission: On 23 March, the Council held a debate (S/PV.6503) to consider the fourth annual report of the PBC. Outgoing Chair of the PBC, Peter Wittig, briefed the Council. The incoming chair of the PBC, Permanent Representative of Rwanda Eugène-Richard Gasana, also addressed the Council.
Sierra Leone: On 24 March, the Council received a briefing from the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone, Michael von der Schulenberg, on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (S/PV.6504). The briefing expanded upon the latest six-monthly report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/119) and was followed by consultations. The Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone, Joseph Dauda, and the Chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, Permanent Representative of Canada John McNee, also addressed the Council.
Lebanon: On 29 March, Council members were briefed in consultations by Michael Williams, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, on the Secretary-General’s latest 1701 report (S/2011/91). In remarks to the press, Williams said the situation on the Blue Line was stable, Israeli overflights continued almost daily and that the situation in Syria could have a negative effect on the formation of the Lebanese government.