December 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2012
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Status Update

Somalia

 On 7 November, the Council renewed AMISOM for another four months and expanded the UN logistical support package for the mission to include funding for an additional 50 civilian personnel (S/RES/2073). While the adoption was unanimous, several Council members gave explanations of vote, expressing disappointment that the resolution did not fully address issues of concern to them (S/PV.6854). (The UK, as the penholder, decided after protracted negotiations to withdraw an earlier, more comprehensive draft, replacing it with the much shorter text.) On 8 November, the Chair of the Sanctions Committee for Somalia and Eritrea, Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri (India), briefed Council members in informal consultations. The Committee met on 13 November to receive a briefing by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on the latest report from the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia (S/2012/856) on implementation of relevant provisions of resolution 2060. Also on 13 November, the Council president informed the Secretary-General that Council members agreed to his request for an extension from 31 December until 31 January of the deadline set by the Council for him to report on the conclusions of the strategic review process for Somalia (S/2012/827 and S/2012/828 contain the exchange of letters). On 21 November, the Council renewed for 12 months the authorisation, in place since 2008, for international counter-piracy action to be carried out within Somali territorial waters and on land in Somalia (S/RES/2077). In explanations of vote following the adoption, South Africa and Togo called for a more thorough investigation of allegations of illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste in the waters off the coast of Somalia (S/PV.6867).

Libya

On 8 November, the Council was briefed (S/PV.6857) by Tarek Mitri via video from Tripoli, in his first briefing to the Council as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Libya and head of UNSMIL. Mitri updated the Council on recent developments, including the October violence in Bani Walid. He also briefed on the formation of the new government, completed on 31 October after the election of Ali Zeidan as prime minister. During the 8 November meeting the Council was also briefed by Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal), chair of the Libya Sanctions Committee, who presented the Chairman’s seventh report of the Libya Sanctions Committee. On 7 November, Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, briefed the Council (S/PV. 6855) on matters pertaining to Libya and the ICC.  Bensouda encouraged Libya to ensure that there is no amnesty for international crimes and no impunity. She also provided an update on the cases against Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, son of the former leader, and Abdullah Al-Senussi, a former senior intelligence official, as well as her office’s ongoing investigations in Libya.

Illicit Trafficking

On 8 November, Council members were briefed in consultations by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, on the Secretary-General’s 19 October report on illicit cross-border trafficking and movement (S/2012/777). No outcome resulted.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 14 November, following the biannual Council debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina the day before (S/PV.6860), the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2074 authorising the the EU-led multinational stabilisation force for a further twelve months. During the debate, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, said that the country’s political leaders were failing to make progress. He also noted that secessionist rhetoric had intensified considerably in the six months prior, and singled out the Bosnian Serb leadership for criticism. Several Council members likewise condemned the increased divisive political rhetoric. Russia, however, said that Inzko’s report (S/2012/813) was “again written in alarmist tones.” It suggested that a more balanced interpretation should be given and emphasised that the main task of the international community was to “transfer responsibility for the fate of the country to the Bosnians themselves.”

Israel/Palestine

The Council held emergency consultations and a private meeting on Gaza on 14 November when hostilities between Gaza and Israel began to escalate. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Council, followed by statements. Council members then met in consultations on Gaza on 19 and 20 November. On 21 November, following Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement, Council members issued a press statement (SC/10829) welcoming the ceasefire, calling on the international community to contribute to improving the living conditions of those in the Gaza Strip, deploring the loss of civilian life, and reiterating the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace. On 27 November, the Council received the regular monthly briefing on the Middle East including the Palestinian Question from Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry. (S/PV.6871)

DRC

On 17 November, the Council issued a press statement (SC/10819) following a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, expressing its concern over the rapidly deteriorating situation. On 20 November, the Council adopted resolution 2076 condemning the M23’s actions and external support given to the group, and expressing its intention to consider additional targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those providing it with external support (S/PV.6866). On 21 November, Roger Meece, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MONUSCO, briefed the Council (S/PV.6868). The chairman of the sanctions committee, Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan), briefed the Council in consultations on the Group of Experts (GoE) annual report (S/2012/843) later that day. On 27 November the Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, briefed the Council after attending the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region summit in Kampala. Ladsous also briefed the Council. On 28 November, the Council renewed the DRC sanctions and the mandate of the GoE’s supporting the sanctions committee until 1 February 2014 (S/RES/2078). On 13 November, the sanctions committee met with the GoE to discuss their annual report. On 13 November the sanctions committee added Col. Sultani Makenga of the M23 to the sanctions list.

Piracy

On 19 November, at the initiative of India, the Council for the first time held an open debate on piracy as a threat to international peace and security (S/PV.6865). Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed and presented the Secretary-General’s 22 October report on piracy off the coast of Somalia (S/2012/783). Ahead of the debate, India had circulated a concept note (S/2012/814) on key issues for consideration. In addition to Council members, the EU and 28 UN member states spoke. The Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/24) expressing its grave concern about the threat posed by piracy, condemning hostage taking and violence against hostages and calling for a continuation of efforts to combat piracy at the national, regional and international levels. It asked the Secretary-General to include in relevant reports to the Council information on ways to advance the international response against piracy.

Working Methods

On 26 November, the Council held an open debate on its working methods (S/PV.6870 and resumption 1). As chair of the informal working group that addresses Council working methods, Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal) noted that working methods attracted great interest from the wider membership (22 non-Council members made statements—several on behalf of larger groupings—in addition to the 15 Council members). Ambassador Cabral noted that some improvements had been made recently in Council working methods, including the more efficient utilisation of Secretariat resources. But he remarked that progress on the broader issue was a “work in progress and never completed.” (A more comprehensive summary of the open debate will be published in the January Forecast.)

Kosovo

On 27 November, Farid Zarif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo and head of UNMIK, briefed the Council (S/PV.6872) on the Secretary-General’s most recent report (S/2012/818). Zarif welcomed the recent steps taken by Kosovo and Serbia to “normalise relations,” noting the important milestone that was reached on 19 October when the prime ministers from Kosovo and Serbia met in Brussels. (They met again on 7 November.) The Special Representative called on the international community to support the dialogue process and said that a unified approach of the international presence on the ground remained essential. (In addition to UNMIK, there is the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo as well as the NATO-led Kosovo Force.) Council members condemned recent violence in northern Kosovo and some emphasised that attacks on international personnel must cease. 

Western Sahara

On 28 November, the Council was briefed in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, as well as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURSO, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber. During the briefing, Ross shared the findings and recommendations that emerged from his recent visit to North Africa and Europe, which included his first visit to Western Sahara. Ross indicated that at this point he does not believe that convening another round of informal talks would advance the search for a solution, instead proposing to engage in a period of “shuttle diplomacy” with the parties and neighbouring states in the context of one or more visits to the region, including Western Sahara.

Sierra Leone

On 28 November, the Council received a briefing in consultations, via video link, from the head of UNIPSIL, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen (Denmark), on Sierra Leone’s 17 November elections. The elections were largely free of violence and President Ernest Bai Koroma was re-elected. On 30 November, the Council adopted a presidential statement urging all political parties to accept the results (S/PRST/2012/25). 

DPRK (North Korea)

On 29 November, the 1718 Sanctions Committee received a regular quarterly briefing from its chair, Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral (Portugal).  The briefing, which was Ambassador Cabral’s last as chair, was held in consultations—as is customary for DPRK issues.  One of the topics discussed was the Panel of Experts’ midterm report, which was provided to the Committee earlier in November and which is scheduled to be submitted to the Council by 12 December.

Syria

On 29 November, Council members were briefed in consultations by the Joint UN-Arab League Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, on his progress towards a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Previously, on 6 November, Council members were briefed in consultations by Jeffrey Feltman, head of the Department of Political Affairs, who related the events surrounding a failed ceasefire brokered for the Eid al-Adha holiday at the end of October and expressed concern at the “appalling levels of violence and human rights abuses, suffering, destruction and humanitarian needs in Syria.” 

Lebanon

On 29 November, Council members received a briefing in consultations from both the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, and the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, on the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 1701 (S/2012/837). The report welcomed the “general calm” that prevails in UNIFIL’s area of operations but also drew attention to “deliberate attempts to destabilize Lebanon, most notably the terrorist bombing in Beirut” of 19 October and the lack of progress towards a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Women, Peace and Security

At press time, the Council was set to hold its annual open debate on 30 November on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on women, peace and security (S/2012/732).  The head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, was expected to brief along with the Deputy Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous.  In addition, Bineta Diop, the head of Femmes Africa Solidarité, was also expected to brief as the focus of the debate was on women’s civil society organisations and their contribution to the prevention and resolution of armed conflict and peacebuilding (S/2012/774).   The open debate was originally scheduled for 29 October but was postponed when UN Headquarters closed due to Hurricane Sandy.  However, the Council did adopt a presidential statement on 31 October (S/PRST/2012/23).