On 4 April, the Council issued a press statement in which it condemned a terrorist attack that occurred in Farah Province in the western part of Afghanistan, which caused numerous deaths and injuries, mainly to civilians (SC/10967).
On 4 April, Council members received a briefing in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, mainly on the National Dialogue Conference that opened on 18 March. On 12 April, the Council issued a press statement welcoming Yemen’s reorganisation of the military and calling on “all parties to support the President’s decrees and to work to ensure their prompt implementation,” (SC/10969).
On 11 April, the Council held a closed meeting with the troop and police-contributing countries to MINURSO (S/PV.6945). On 22 April, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURSO, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber (Germany), and the Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross (US), briefed Council members in consultations on MINURSO’s activities and recent developments since the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2013/220). In his briefing Ross covered his visits to North Africa from 18 March to 3 April and from 8 to 11 April. On 25 April, Council members adopted resolution 2099 and extended the mandate of MINURSO for another year. A draft resolution prepared by the US, the penholder on Western Sahara, had been discussed earlier by the Group of Friends of Western Sahara (France, Russia, Spain, the US and the UK) and between the US and Morocco in bilateral consultations. The initial draft apparently included language giving MINURSO a mandate to monitor and gather information on human rights violations and included a reference to human rights monitoring in the camps near Tindouf, Algeria, but by the time the draft was distributed to all Council members this language had been withdrawn.
Prevention of Conflicts in Africa
On 15 April, the Council held a briefing on “Prevention of conflicts in Africa: addressing the root causes” (S/PV.6946). Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda, presided. A concept note for the briefing had previously been circulated as an annex to a letter to the Council on 2 April (S/2013/204). The Council was briefed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the UN, representing the Chairperson of the AU; and Elliott Ohin, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo. The Council adopted a presidential statement at the conclusion of the meeting (S/PRST/2013/4).
On 16 April, the Council was briefed (S/PV.6947) by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet on the Secretary-General’s special UNOCI report (S/2013/197). In the subsequent consultations, Council members also discussed the final report of the Group of Experts assisting the 1572 Côte d’Ivoire Sanctions Committee (S/2013/228). On 25 April, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2101, renewing for a period of 12 months the sanctions regime on Côte d’Ivoire and the mandate of the Group of Experts (S/PV.6953). The resolution rolls over most of the measures in resolution 2045, namely an arms embargo, a ban on diamond exports and targeted sanctions on a number of individuals. It also includes a change in the notification system by which member states delivering non-lethal law enforcement equipment to the Côte d’Ivoire security forces may notify the Committee of any shipment to ensure the Committee keeps track of the material delivered.
On 16 April, Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Myanmar, briefed Council members in consultations. It was Nambiar’s first briefing to the Council since 20 June 2012. He had visited Myanmar several times since then and updated Council members on the situation on the ground in Myanmar.
Women, Peace and Security
On 17 April, Louise Mushikiwabo, the Foreign Minister of Rwanda, presided over the Security Council’s open debate on Women, Peace and Security to consider the Secretary-General’s annual report on sexual violence in conflict (S/2013/149) following a briefing by the Secretary-General and Zainab Bangura, his Special Representative on the issue (S/PV.6948). In addition, Saran Keïta Diakité—the President of the Women, Peace and Security Network of the ECOWAS region, Mali—spoke on behalf of the New York-based NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. There was no outcome following the debate, however, Bangura said that she hoped the Security Council would show resolve in June 2013 and adopt a new resolution on sexual violence in conflict focused on accountability and prevention.
On 18 April, the Council received briefings on the humanitarian situation in Syria from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura, and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui (S/PV.6949). Amos described the situation in Syria as a “humanitarian catastrophe”. Guterres asserted that the refugee crisis had become an “existential threat” to some of Syria’s neighbors. Bangura detailed instances of sexual violence alleged against both the opposition and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, adding that her message to the perpetrators of such abuses is that “justice may be delayed, but it will not be denied”. Finally, Zerrougui drew the Council’s attention to the fact that more than three million children inside Syria had been affected by the conflict, and more than 600,000 children had been counted among the refugees in the subregion. Representatives of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey also made statements. Closed consultations followed the briefings, after which the Council President read elements to the press at the media stakeout in which Council members strongly condemned incidents of sexual violence and violence against children; urged all parties to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law; and “underlined the need to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance … including where appropriate across borders in accordance with guiding principles of humanitarian assistance.” On 19 April, UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi briefed Council members in consultations on his own efforts to facilitate a political solution to the Syrian conflict. Speaking to the press following the briefing, Brahimi denied rumors that his resignation was imminent and reiterated his position that the situation in Syria required action by the Council. The Syrian conflict also dominated statements made during the quarterly open debate on the Middle East, held on 24 April (S/PV.6950 and Resumption 1). At press time, it was anticipated that Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, Ambassador of Jordan, would address the Council in a private meeting on 30 April to seek the Council’s determination that the influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan represents a threat to international peace and security (S/2013/247).
On 24 April the Council held a quarterly open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.6950 and Resumption 1). In his briefing to the Council, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman highlighted the destabilising effects of the conflict in Syria. He identified the need for “quick, concerted action” on Syria and added that “Action must also be taken on the Israeli-Palestinian issue… There is now an opening to develop a meaningful initiative to achieve the negotiated two-State solution.” Following Feltman’s briefing, Palestine, Israel, the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States and 41 other nations made statements.
On 25 April, the Council was briefed by Ambassadors Abulkalam Abdul Momen (Bangladesh) and Ranko Vilović (Croatia), the former and current chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), on the sixth annual report of the PBC (S/2013/63), covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2012 (S/PV.6954). There was no outcome to the meeting.
On 25 April Council members received a briefing on Guinea under “any other business” from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on the 25 April demonstrations in Conakry and the 23 April joint declaration of non-violence signed between the main Guinean stakeholders. On 29 April, the Council issued a press statement expressing concern over the volatile situation in the country, welcoming the joint declaration and calling upon all parties to cooperate with Special Representative Said Djinnit with a view towards national dialogue and free, fair, transparent and inclusive legislative elections in Guinea (SC/10992).
On 30 April, the Council held a “wrap-up session” of Rwanda’s April presidency under the agenda item “Implementation of Note S/2010/507 (Wrap-up Session)”. Non-Council members were invited to attend the private meeting.