January 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 23 December 2011
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Status Update

DRC: On 2 December 2011, the members of the Security Council were briefed by Roger Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), on the presidential and legislative elections of 28 November 2011. Following the briefing, Council members issued a press statement (SC/10470) which stressed the importance of maintaining a peaceful and calm environment, exercising restraint and resolving any differences through established legal and mediation mechanisms. Council members urged all candidates and their supporters to refrain from acts of violence and called on the authorities to investigate any such acts and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The statement also highlighted Council members’ concern about the logistical and technical difficulties encountered during the voting process. On 15 December, Meece briefed Council members again via video-teleconference. He updated them on election observer reports of irregularities in the election process, the security situation on the ground and MONUSCO’s preparations for possible developing scenarios.

Eritrea: On 5 December 2011, the Council adopted resolution 2023 (S/PV.6674 and Resumption 1). The resolution condemned Eritrea’s violations of Council resolutions 1907, 1862  and 1844 and called on it to cease all efforts to destabilise other states. It also condemned the Eritrean government’s use of the diaspora tax to destabilise the Horn of Africa or violate Council resolutions, called on Eritrea to cease such practices and called for appropriate action to be taken by member states to make individuals accountable for and prevent them from engaging in illegal collection of the tax. The resolution also expressed concern over the Eritrean mining sector potentially being used as a source for financing destabilising activities and called on states to be vigilant to prevent such use. Additionally, it urged states to develop due diligence guidelines to prevent the provision of financial services that might contribute to further violations of existing Council resolutions. Finally, it expanded the mandate of the Monitoring group for Somalia and Eritrea and requested the Secretary-General to report within 180 days on Eritrea’s compliance with the resolution. Prior to the adoption (in the same meeting) the Council heard interventions by the President of Djibouti, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, the President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, the Foreign Minister of Kenya, Moses Wetangula, and the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the AU, Mull Katende, speaking via video teleconference from Addis Ababa (S/PV.6674). The Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki, had also been invited to speak, but in a 3 December letter to the Council (S/2011/753) Eritrea wrote that his participation would be logistically impossible and “a mere formality and utterly meaningless” because of the short notice (the invitation was extended on 30 November 2011) for which it blamed the US.

Lebanon: On 9 December 2011, the Security Council issued a press statement condemning the attack on a UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) convoy which injured five peacekeepers and two civilians (SC/10478). This is the third such attack in southern Lebanon during 2011, similar incidents occurred in May and July.

Cyprus: On 9 December 2011, Lisa Buttenheim, head of the UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), briefed Council members on the Secretary-General’s latest report on Cyprus. On 14 December, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2026 extending the mandate of the peacekeeping force in Cyprus until 19 July (S/PV.6685). The resolution called on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to intensify the momentum of negotiations and to constructively engage in the process. It also called on the two sides to work on reaching convergences on the remaining core issues, ahead of the “Greentree II” meeting with the Secretary-General in January.

Burundi: On 7 December 2011, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB), Karin Landgren, briefed the Council on the recent Secretary-General’s report (S/2011/751) which recommended that BNUB’s mandate be renewed at its current composition (S/PV.6677). On 20 December, the Council adopted resolution 2027, extending BNUB’s mandate until 15 February 2013 under the same terms as the previous mandate, stressing that BNUB should support Burundi’s efforts in the area of socioeconomic development (S/PV.6691).

Tribunals: On 7 December 2011, the presidents of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Theodor Meron and Judge Khalida Rachid Khan respectively, and the Prosecutors of both tribunals, Serge Brammertz and Hassan Bubacar Jallow respectively, briefed the Council (S/PV.6678). The briefers highlighted that staff retention and lack of state cooperation in certain areas threatened the successful completion of the tribunals’ work. (All four also attended the meeting of the Council’s informal working group on international tribunals on 6 December). On 21 December, the Council adopted resolution 2029, extending the terms of four trial judges and eight ad litem judges at the ICTR until 30 June 2012 or sooner if their trials were completed.

Abyei: On 8 December 2011, the Council received a briefing (S/PV.6679) and held consultations on the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Abyei (S/2011/741). The Council adopted a resolution (S/RES/2024) on 14 December adding a border monitoring support role to the mandate of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA). On 22 December, it renewed the mandate of UNISFA for an additional five months (S/RES/2032).

Syria: On 12 December 2011, High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, briefed Council members in informal consultations on the situation in Syria, indicating that crimes against humanity had likely been committed by government forces. On 15 December, Russia called for emergency informal consultations under the “Middle East” agenda item to discuss a proposed Russian draft resolution on Syria. At press time, Council members had met twice at expert-level, on 19 and 22 December, to discuss the draft.

Somalia: On 13 December 2011, the Secretary-General briefed the Council on Somalia following his 9 December historic visit to Mogadishu with the President of the UN General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (S/PV.6681). (It was the first ever such joint visit to Somalia and the first visit by a Secretary-General since 1993.) The Secretary-General’s regular Somalia report (S/2011/759) was circulated on 9 December. In his briefing, the Secretary-General emphasised in particular that the international community was facing “a moment of fresh opportunity” in Somalia and must seize it by consolidating gains already made, offering additional support and ensuring that the military strategy was aligned with political objectives. After the briefing, Council members held informal consultations and subsequently issued a press statement (SC/10481) welcoming the Secretary-General’s visit to Mogadishu. They also underlined the seriousness of the problems in Somalia and the need for a comprehensive strategy and supported the Secretary-General’s call for faster implementation of the road map, while noting that future support to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions would be contingent on its completion.

ICJ Election: On 13 December 2011, the Council and General Assembly convened for the third time in order to independently, but concurrently, elect the fifth and final remaining judge for the International Court of Justice (ICJ). During the concurrent sessions, Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) obtained 97 votes in the Assembly, compared to 93 for rival candidate Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone), while in the Council she obtained nine votes and Koroma received six. Sebutinde joins Giorgio Gaja (Italy), Hisashi Owada (Japan), Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Xue Hanqin (China) for a nine-year term on the Court commencing on 6 February.

Liberia: On 14 December 2011, the Council adopted resolution 2025 renewing for a period of 12 months a sanctions regime including asset freezes and arms embargo on non-state actors, and travel ban on selected individuals, as well as the mandate of the Panel of Experts appointed to monitor implementation of the sanctions regime (S/PV.6684). The Panel is tasked to “assess the impact, effectiveness, and continued need for the measures” and will conduct a midterm and final review with a view “to possibly modifying or lifting all or part of the measures of the sanctions regime.”  The resolution deplored the pre-election violence of 7 November 2011, and welcomed the establishment of a Special Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events and determine the facts and circumstances through “independent and impartial proceedings that meet international standards.” The resolution notes “with serious concern” violation of measures relating to asset freezes and called on the Liberian government to “make all necessary efforts to fulfil its obligations” in this regard. It also urged the Liberian government to “improve its control over the gold sector and adopt the necessary legislation in this regard, and focus its efforts on establishing effective governance of the gold production sector.” The latest Panel of Experts report (published on 7 December) noted several violations of the sanctions measures relating to asset freezes as well as the arms embargo (mainly by Liberian mercenaries returning from Côte d’Ivoire).

Subsidiary Bodies: On 14 December 2011, the Permanent Representatives of the outgoing members of the Security Council—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria—briefed the Council on the work of the subsidiary bodies they had chaired during their two-year tenures (S/PV.6686).

Afghanistan: On 19 December 2011, the Council held a debate on the Secretary-General’s report (S/2011/772) on the situation in Afghanistan (S/PV.6690). The Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/22) in which it welcomed the 5 December Bonn Conference on “Afghanistan and the International Community: From Transition to the Transformation Decade” and its conclusions (S/2011/762). 

Central Asia: On 19 December 2011, Council members were briefed by Special Representative Miroslav JenĨa on the work of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) over the past six months. The Council released a press statement (SC/10495) acknowledging the efforts of the Centre as a mechanism for preventive diplomacy and commended and welcomed the impact the Centre has in the region.

Israel/Palestine: On 20 December 2011, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández-Taranco, briefed the Council (S/PV.6692) followed by informal consultations. Taranco told the Council that the peace process was dangerously uncertain, the security situation between Gaza and Israel had deteriorated and the announcement of new Israeli settlement construction, home demolitions in the West Bank and an increase in settler violence were of serious concern. He also reported that Quartet envoys had met separately with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on 14 December. On Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, Taranco noted that a series of meetings had been held in Cairo. In remarks to the press, EU Council members (France, Germany, Portugal and the UK) expressed concern about increased settlement construction and settler violence and reiterated EU principles on borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. The IBSA members of the Council (India, Brazil, and South Africa), Lebanon on behalf of the Arab Group and South Africa on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, also delivered statements critical of Israeli settlement policy.

Golan Heights: On 21 December 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 2028 extending the mandate of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) through 30 June 2012. The resolution was a joint text by the US and Russia and noted that conditions in the region could impact UNDOF and also requested implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendation to upgrade the Force’s equipment and infrastructure.

CAR: On 21 December 2011, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2031 extending the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) until 31 January 2013. Resolution 2031 took into account the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2011/739) and extended the mandate for 13 months instead of 12 in order to spread out the renewal of mandates in 2012. The renewal of a mandate through a resolution was in contrast to BINUCA’s inception, on 7 April 2009, by a presidential statement (S/PRST/2009/5) as well as its last mandate renewal, on 14 December 2010, through another statement (S/PRST/2010/26). Some Council members felt it was more appropriate to adopt a resolution and highlight the ongoing challenges that exist in CAR. Prior to this, the Council was briefed on 14 December by Margaret Vogt, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of BINUCA, and Ambassador Jan Grauls (Belgium), the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s CAR country configuration (S/PV.6687). CAR’s Prime Minister, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, also addressed the Council on the same day. Vogt highlighted that CAR was at a critical junction while presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report, whereas, Grauls’ briefing noted the security aspects of the situation as well as the lack of political inclusiveness in the post-electoral period. Touadéra updated the Council on the recent developments related to the CAR government.

Guinea-Bissau: On 21 December 2011, the Council unanimously passed resolution 2030 extending the mandate of the UN Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) until 28 February 2013. Sponsored by Brazil, Nigeria and Portugal, the resolution welcomed the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries to assist in the reforms of the defence and security sectors in Guinea-Bissau and called on the country’s military to respect constitutional order, civilian rule and oversight, and to refrain from any interference in political issues. It also urged Guinea-Bissau’s political leadership to refrain from involving the military and the judiciary in politics, and to conclude investigations into the political assassinations of March and June 2009 “as soon as possible”. The resolution addressed regional and international anxiety surrounding Guinea Bissau, the threats posed by the “growth in illicit drug trafficking and organised crime” in the country and welcomed the government’s 2011-2014 National Operational Plan to combat illicit drug trafficking and organised crime.

Iran: On 21 December 2011, the Chair of the Iran Sanctions Committee (1737 Committee), Ambassador Néstor Osorio (Colombia), provided a regular 90-day briefing to the Council. On 7 December, the Committee had received an oral briefing from the coordinator of the Panel of Experts summarising the key points of its midterm report of 1 November. The Panel had investigated a reported violation of the ban on all exports of arms and related material from Iran (resolution 1747 ) and initiated an inquiry into an alleged violation of Iran of paragraph 9 of resolution 1929. (The paragraph states that Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.) Following the briefing, several Council members expressed concern regarding Iran’s nuclear programme and in particular the issues addressed in the IAEA’s report of 8 November. In his concluding remarks, Osorio noted that a series of concerns weighed heavily on Council members, including that the Panel’s previous report of May 2011 had not been made public due to resistance within the Committee.

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