Syria: On 3 August, the Council held a debate on the situation in the Middle East (S/PV.6598) and adopted a presidential statement expressing concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria (S/PRST/2011/16). On 10 August, Council members were briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández Taranco. On 18 August, Council members received a briefing from Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. Pillay urged them to consider referring the “pattern of widespread or systematic human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces” to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. On 23 August, Council members (with the exception of China and Russia) discussed a draft resolution on Syria circulated by the UK at both expert and permanent representative level. The resolution called for the freezing of assets of President Assad and 22 key Syrian figures plus four entities, as well as a travel ban on 22 individuals. It also included an arms embargo, set up a new sanctions committee and noted the HRC’s recommendation that the Security Council consider referring the situation in Syria to the ICC. On 26 August, the UK draft as well as a Russian draft resolution on Syria were both put in blue.
Yemen: On 9 August, Special Advisor on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, briefed Council members. His briefing focused on the GCC mediation efforts and on the current situation in the country. The Council issued a press statement expressing concern over the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation, as well as the worsening security situation (SC/10357).
Lebanon: On 16 August, the Council met in closed consultations to discuss the UNIFIL renewal (S/PV.6600). At press time, the Council was due to extend UNIFIL’s mandate on 30 August. Whilst briefing the Council on the Middle East on 25 August, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, highlighted several security incidents of concern, including the 26 July targeting of a UNIFIL convoy, which had injured five peacekeepers. Pascoe also told the Council that the Lebanese authorities, on 9 August, had informed the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that they were unable to arrest and transfer those accused in the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
Iraq: On 18 August, Council members condemned the series of terrorist attacks that occurred on 15 August in Iraq which killed scores of people (SC/10362).
UNOCA: On 18 August, the Council was briefed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abou Moussa, via videoconference (S/PV.6601). Moussa, whom last addressed the Council prior to his deployment in June, told the Council of initial steps and assessments made by UNOCA to contribute to regional cooperation in Central Africa. In a press statement issued after the meeting, the Council encouraged UNOCA to establish partnerships with regional organisations in order to face regional challenges, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (SC/10364). The Council also requested UNOCA to consider ways to assist states in Central Africa, tackling issues such as security sector reform and promoting human rights. The Council stated that it looked forward to receiving the first report on UNOCA in November.
DPRK: On 23 August, the chair of the Committee on DPRK sanctions briefed Council members in informal consultations.
Peacekeeping: On 26 August, the Council held a debate on UN peacekeeping operations. On 5 August, India circulated a concept paper (S/2011/496) entitled “Peacekeeping: Taking stock and preparing for the future”. The Secretary-General, representatives from 29 countries, the AU and the EU participated. The Council agreed on a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/17) which: recognised the need for adequate and efficient use of resources and asked the Secretary-General to include a realistic assessment of how available capabilities and logistic planning affect implementation of peacekeeping mandates in briefings regarding specific peacekeeping operations; stressed the need to improve communication between the TCC/PCCs, the Council and the Secretariat; requested the Secretariat to invite and give notice to TCCs and PCCs by the 15th of each month of the Council’s upcoming TCC/PCC meetings for the following month; and recognised the benefit of an annual briefing by Heads of Military Components and welcomed similar briefings by Heads of Police Components.
Terrorism: On 26 August, Council members condemned in the strongest terms the bombing of the UN building that caused numerous deaths that day in Abuja, Nigeria (SC/10370). Council members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable and underlined their support for the work that the UN is doing in partnership with the government of Nigeria.
Kosovo: At press time, the Council was expected to hold a debate on the situation in Kosovo on 30 August to consider the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/514). While the report covers the period of 16 April to 15 July, the debate is likely to focus on the border tensions in northern Kosovo which began in late July. The case of organ trafficking allegations is also likely to be discussed. The Council is expected to be briefed by acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Farid Zarif.