Syria: On 4 October, China and Russia vetoed a draft resolution, sponsored by France, Germany, Portugal and the UK, which condemned the Syrian crackdown on protestors (S/2011/612). Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa abstained (S/PV.6627). The draft was circulated on 27 September followed by several rounds of negotiations that substantially altered the text. However, language on the Council’s intent to consider further measures if the Syrian regime failed to implement the resolution’s provisions remained. There is some sense among Council members that if the situation continues to deteriorate there may be a need to revisit the idea of Council action. However, the Council appears unlikely to take up Syria directly until after the deadline set by the Arab League on 16 October for the Syrian regime and opposition to meet in Cairo within 15 days.
UNAMID: On 11 October, the Council issued a press statement (SC/10407) in which it condemned the 10 October attack on UNAMID personnel, which resulted in the deaths of two peacekeepers and one police advisor and the wounding of six other members of the mission. On 25 September, Council members were briefed by Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peackeeping Operations, and held consultations on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on UNAMID (S/2011/643). The permanent representative of Sudan, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, also participated in briefing. No formal outcome resulted from the discussions.
Afghanistan: On 12 October, the Council adopted resolution 2011 extending the authorisation of ISAF until 13 October 2012 (S/PV.6629). The resolution underlined the significance of the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government by the end of 2014, looked forward to the phased extension of the transition process and highlighted the need for a responsible transition and the long-term commitment of the international community. It also welcomed the Enduring Partnership Declaration agreed upon by NATO and the Afghan Government in November 2010.
Security Sector Reform: On 12 October, the Council held an open debate on security sector reform (SSR) in Africa, which included nearly 30 speakers (S/PV.6630). The presidential statement issued after the debate underscored the role of SSR as a cornerstone of peace and sustainable development (S/PRST/2011/19). It emphasised that SSR was a long-term process which should be nationally owned and reiterated the primary responsibility of the country concerned to determine its national approach. The statement also underlined that SSR must take place within the broad framework of the rule of law and be cognisant of the issue of impunity. It noted that peacekeeping had evolved to include peacebuilding tasks and that an increasing number of missions were mandated to support national SSR programmes. It also also emphasised the need to involve women and members of civil society in the process and requested the Secretary-General to submit an update report to the Council assessing the UN’s support for SSR by early 2013.
ICTR: On 14 October, the Council adopted resolution 2013, allowing Judge Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov to work part-time and engage in another judicial occupation while serving as judge on the Tribunal, until 31 December 2011 (S/PV.6632). The Council stressed that the authorisation is exceptional and shall not be considered as establishing a precedent. The resolution came in response to a request by the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan, to allow Judge Tuzmukhamedov to complete his duties at the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (S/2011/609).
Haiti: On 14 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2012, which extended MINUSTAH until 15 October 2012, with the intention of renewal (S/PV.6631). The Council recognised that the overall security situation in Haiti, while fragile, had improved since 2010. Consistent with the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report on the mission’s work (S/2011/540), the Council decided to reduce the mission’s military strength by 1,600 personnel and by 1,150 formed police unit officers. The Council also recognised that Haiti had made “considerable strides” since the January 2010 earthquake, noting that the country had experienced its first peaceful transition of power from one democratically elected president to another from the opposition. The Council strongly condemned the grave violations against children and the rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls in the country. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue to take necessary measures to ensure full compliance of MINUSTAH personnel with the UN’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.
Côte d’Ivoire: On 17 October, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chair of the Security Council Committee on Côte d’Ivoire, submitted the midterm report of the Group of Experts monitoring the implementation of the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire. The report noted a number of violations relating to the embargo on arms and diamonds, as well as the travel ban on selected individuals. The report noted that “large amounts of weapons and ammunition” from the former regime of Laurent Gbagbo were unaccounted for, and that this situation has “important national and regional implications.” It noted that the security situation was “precarious” ahead of legislative elections slated for December but that “the ultimate security and political stabilization of Côte d’Ivoire may depend on the timely holding of free, democratic and transparent legislative and municipal elections”. The Council decided to maintain the sanctions regime unchanged. The sanctions are to remain in effect until 30 April 2012.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: On 19 October, the Council was briefed by the Secretary-General on the piracy situation in the Gulf of Guinea (S/PV.6633). The Secretary General announced the appointment of an assessment mission to examine the scope of the threat and the capacity of the Gulf of Guinea states to ensure maritime safety and security in the region. The assessment mission, to be deployed in November, is expected to make recommendations on antipiracy, including in the broader context of organised crime and drug trafficking. The announcement was made while the Secretary General was addressing an open debate, promoted by Nigeria, on the issue. Also briefing the Council were representatives of Benin, the Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (whose Secretariat, set up in 2006, is in Luanda, Angola). All 15 council members made statements. A draft resolution on the issue was circulated by Nigeria, but no action was taken on it.
Security Council Elections 2011: On 21 October, the General-Assembly voted Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo to serve on the Security Council in 2012-2013. On 24 October, Azerbaijan won the final seat for 2012-2013 term on the 17th round of voting, after Slovenia, which had contested the seat against Azerbaijan, withdrew its bid following the previous round. Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan, and Togo will replace outgoing Council members Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.
Middle East: On 24 October, the Council held its quarterly open debate on the Middle East following a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe (S/PV.6636 and resumption 1). The briefing focused on the diplomatic activity by the Quartet to break the stalemate in the Israel/Palestine peace process and the recent prisoner swap agreement between Israel and Hamas. Other issues raised by member states during the open debate included Israeli settlement activity and Palestine’s bid for UN membership.
Western Sahara: On 26 October, Christopher Ross, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, briefed the Council on the recent developments. Ross’s briefing noted that the last two rounds of informal talks (held between 5-7 June and 19-21 July respectively) between parties to the Western Sahara conflict-Morocco and the Sahrawi national liberation movement, the Polisario Front-had only partially been successful. Moreover, Ross stated that the issue of Western Sahara could only be resolved with the Council’s attention and support and it was necessary to introduce new measures to break the current deadlock. He added that the next round of informal talks was likely to take place in early 2012, i.e. after the parliamentary elections in Morocco that are set to be held in late November. Ross also emphasised the need for the Council to revisit MINURSO’s role as well as a requirement to assess the human rights situation. Council members shared Ross’ concern at the lack of progress made by the parties to the conflict and some were disappointed at the delay in the next round of informal talks.
Liberia: On 26 October, the Council issued a press statement praising the peaceful and orderly conduct of the first round of presidential elections on 11 October (SC/10423). Sixteen candidates, including incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ran, and none got the necessary 50 percent plus one of the total votes to avoid a run-off. Sirleaf led with 43.9 per cent of the votes, and will face the runner-up, Winston A. Tubman, who won 32.7 per cent, on 8 November. The Council urged “all Liberian stakeholders to remain committed to the legitimate political process, exercise maximum restraint and work together to build confidence in the electoral system.” The Council also called on “international and national stakeholders, including civil society, to deploy as many electoral observers as possible, as invited by the Government of Liberia to monitor the second round.”
Women, Peace and Security: On 28 October, the Council held its annual open debate on women, peace and security with “Women’s Participation and Role in Conflict Prevention and Mediation” as the theme. They adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/20) which underlined the importance of the participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution efforts, including in the negotiation and implementation of peace agreements, as well as: international dialogues; contact groups; engagement conferences and donor conferences in support of conflict resolution; and stressed the importance of creating enabling conditions for women’s participation during all stages of peace processes and for countering negative societal attitudes regarding full and equal participation of women in conflict resolution and mediation. On 29 September the Secretary-General’s latest report on women, peace and security was published (S/2011/598). The report provided the Council with an overview of the implementation of resolution 1325, including information collected on one third of the indicators presented by the Secretary-General in his 2010 report as well as the strategic framework requested by the Council last October to guide UN implementation of 1325 over the next ten years.
Peacebuilding: At press time the Council was expected to meeting on 31 October to discuss Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.