February 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 January 2012
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Status Update

Syria: The Council condemned a 6 January terrorist attack in Damascus in a press statement (SC/10513). On 10 January, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed Council members on the Syrian situation in informal consultations as part of its regular monthly horizon scanning exercise. The Arab League’s 22 January decision to facilitate political transition in Syria and seek Security Council support was a focus of the 24 January open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.6706 and res.1). At press time, the Arab League was expected to brief the Council on 31 January. A new draft resolution (coordinated by EU members of the Council, the US, and several Arab states) supporting the Arab League’s approach to Syria was introduced to the Council on 27 January by Morocco. However, at press time it was unclear when it might it be put in blue for a vote.

Guinea-Bissau: On 10 January, Pascoe briefed Council members on the situation in Guinea-Bissau. The Council issued a press statement (SC/10521), expressing condolences to the government and people of Guinea-Bissau on the death of President Malam Bacai Sanhá on 9 January. The statement condemned what appeared to be an attempted military coup on 26 December 2011 and welcomed Guinea-Bissau’s decision to investigate the incident. The statement called on the government to “continue to pursue important reforms for the consolidation of peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau, especially regarding security-sector reform.”

Iraq: On 10 January, Pascoe briefed the Council on the worsening security situation in Iraq. Council members met in consultations on 17 January to discuss Iraq’s progress towards ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in accordance with resolution 1957. Council members also discussed the first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1956, which was released on 22 December.

UN-AU Partnership: On 12 January, the Council unanimously passed resolution 2033, reiterating the importance of establishing a more effective relationship between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), particularly in the area of conflict prevention, resolution and management, electoral assistance and regional conflict prevention offices (S/PV.6702 and res.1). The vote followed a Council summit chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma. The resolution recognised that regional organisations are “well positioned to understand the causes of armed conflicts owing to their knowledge of the region,” and welcomed the “increasing contribution” being made by the AU in conflict resolution. The resolution committed the Council to improving consultation and coordination between it and the AU PSC. The resolution also called for elaboration of “further ways of strengthening relations between the two Councils including through achieving more effective annual consultative meetings, the holding of timely consultations, and collaborative field missions of the two Councils, as appropriate, to formulate cohesive positions and strategies on a case-by-case basis in dealing with conflict situations in Africa.” On 25 January, the AU PSC issued a communiqué welcoming the resolution.

Israel/Palestine: On 18 January, Valerie Amos, the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, briefed Council members in informal consultations on the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with a particular focus on the impact of settlement construction in the West Bank. On 24 January Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernández-Taranco briefed the Council at its quarterly open debate on the Middle East on Israeli and Palestinian efforts to renew direct negotiations and adhere to the timeline proposed by the Quartet on 23 September 2011. Other than a series of exploratory talks hosted by Jordan in January there had been little progress. Fernández-Taranco also said that settlement activity continued to contribute to tensions on the ground (S/PV.6706 and res.1).

ICJ: On 19 January, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2034 without a vote, setting 27 April as the election date to fill the vacancy on the International Court of Justice, caused by the resignation of Judge Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (S/PV.6704).

Rule of Law: On 19 January, the Council held a debate on “the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security”. In a presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/1) the Council called on states to cooperate with international courts and tribunals, including the ICC, in accordance with their respective obligations and requested the Secretary-General to report within 12 months on the effectiveness of the UN’s support to the promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Cyprus: On 25 January, Council members held consultations on Cyprus and were briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Alexander Downer. The consultations took place the day after the conclusion of the “Greentree II” talks, involving the leaders from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and hosted by the Secretary-General. Despite the Secretary-General’s call on 1 November  for the sides to move to the “end game” of the negotiations, “limited progress” was achieved.

Yemen: On 25 January, Special Adviser Jamal Benomar briefed the Council after his 8th visit to Yemen. On 26 January, in a press statement (SC/10529), Council members welcomed the formation of the government of national unity and the political progress made since the signing of the GCC initiative and the implementation mechanism. The statement also called for peaceful elections on 21 February and expressed concern at the worsening security situation.

Côte d’Ivoire: On 26 January, the Council was briefed by Special Representative Albert Gerard Koenders, head of UNOCI, on the latest developments in the country. Koenders said that the political, economic and security situation in the country was improving but that key challenges remain. He mentioned the conduct of legislative elections in December 2011 and noted the incidents of violence since then. No action was taken by the Council.

1988 Committee Report: On 30 January, the Council was briefed by the chairman of the 1988 Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Peter Wittig (Germany), in closed consultations. This was the first briefing since the separation of the Taliban sanctions committee from the Al-Qaida sanctions regime in resolution 1988 on 17 June 2011.

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