On 4 June, in the “horizon scanning” briefing to Council members in consultations, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco presented the three strategic goals of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel prepared by Special Envoy Romano Prodi: inclusive governance, capacity building to address cross-border threats and resilience. On 26 June, Prodi briefed (S/PV.6988) the Council on the strategy which had been previously circulated as an annex to the Secretary-General’s report on the Sahel (S/2013/354).
On 4 June, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco briefed Council members at “horizon-scanning” consultations on the UN’s preparations for a possible peace conference between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva. The Council issued a press statement on 7 June expressing grave concern about heavy fighting in Al-Qusayr, calling for unhindered humanitarian access and emphasising accountability (SC/11028). On 20 June, OCHA head Valerie Amos briefed Council members in consultations under “any other business” on the humanitarian situation in Syria. She reported that access had been denied or delayed for months and there had been an increasing use of siege tactics by the parties. She said that unless there is a genuine political solution to the crisis then the humanitarian situation would continue to deteriorate with increasing regional instability. She called on the Council to consider alternative forms of aid delivery, including cross-border operations. On 21 June, Council members met with Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro and Karen Abu Zayd of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria in a closed “Arria formula” format session organised by Australia. Pinheiro reported on the militarization of the conflict, warning that further arms shipments to Syria are likely to be used to commit serious violations of international law. He added that violations are being committed by all parties but that the scale and intensity were greater on the part of Syrian government forces and affiliated militias. Regarding the use of chemical weapons, he said the Commission could not establish the perpetrator, the chemical agent or the mode of delivery. Finally, he called for the Council to lead a diplomatic surge to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
On 5 June, the Council adopted resolution 2105 renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee until 9 July 2014. The Panel’s latest report was circulated on 5 June (S/2013/331). On 24 June, the Committee chair, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), held an open briefing to interested member states about the mandate and activities of the Committee. The 90-day briefing by the chair, initially scheduled for 13 June was postponed in the absence of agreement in the Committee on the text of the briefing. It seems Council members disagreed over whether to characterise the Great Prophet 7 exercises conducted from 2-4 July 2012, during which Iran launched ballistic missiles, as a violation of Council resolutions. At press time, the issue had not yet been resolved and a new date for the briefing had not been set. During consultations at ambassadorial level on 25 June, it was agreed that the Committee should make a last effort to come to an agreement, but that if no compromise had been found within ten days, the chair would present a report reflecting the divided views of Council members. It was also agreed that in the meantime, the Council president, the UK in June, would contact the Iranian permanent representative in New York to ask for a response to the letter which was sent by the Committee chair in April inviting Iran to express its views on the Panel of Experts’ conclusion that the Great Prophet exercise constituted a violation of the sanctions regime.
International Criminal Tribunals
On 10 June, the informal working group on international tribunals met with the presidents and prosecutors of the ICTY and ICTR who also briefed the Council on 12 June (S/PV.6977). On 12 June, the Council sent a letter to the Secretary-General (S/2013/349) asking him to invite states to submit nominations to the Council for the position of judge for the ICTY Appeals Chamber.
The Council issued a press statement on 11 June condemning the terrorist attack on the same day near the Supreme Court in Kabul (SC/11030). On 20 June, the Council held its quarterly debate (S/PV.6983) on Afghanistan with Ján Kubǐs, the Special Representative and head of UNAMA briefing on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2013/350). He noted his concern that important legislation regarding the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections had not been adopted. He also informed the Council that there has been a 25 percent increase in civilian casualties in the conflict during the first half of this year as compared to the first half of 2012.
On 11 June, the Council was briefed by Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser on Yemen, mainly on the closure of the first plenary session of the National Dialogue Conference, as well as on the work of its working groups and consensus committee (S/PV.6976). The briefing was followed by consultations.
On 13 June, Council members received a briefing in consultations from the chair of the 1521 Liberia Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Masood Khan (Pakistan), on the 23 May midterm report of the Panel of Experts on Liberia (S/2013/316).
On 14 June, the Council held a quarterly debate on Kosovo (S/PV.6979). Farid Zarif, Special Representative and head of UNMIK, briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report (S/2013/254). Prime Minister Ivica Dačić of Serbia and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi of Kosovo also addressed the Council. Zarif emphasised the progress made in political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, particularly the “First Agreement on Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations” agreed on 19 April. Both Zarif and Dačić noted the recurring challenges posed by insecurity in northern Kosovo, while Thaçi suggested the UN should consider withdrawal of UNMIK in the near future in order to facilitate local ownership, preserve credibility and reduce expenses.
Children and Armed Conflict
On 17 June the Council held a debate on children and armed conflict (S/PV.6980) with Special Representative Leila Zerrougui briefing on the Secretary-General’s annual report on the issue (S/2013/245). Other briefers included Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, Associate Vice-President of Save the Children Gregory Ramm and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Yoka Brandt. Canada spoke on behalf of the Friends of Children and Armed Conflict. During the debate the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing strong concern over the high number of repeat offenders that openly disregard Council resolutions and stressed its commitment to effectively deal with persistent perpetrators as well as its readiness to adopt targeted measures against them (S/PRST/2013/8). The presidential statement also underlined the importance of concrete time-bound action plans to prevent violations against children and called on parties to armed conflict listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s report to implement such action plans. It also highlighted the contribution of the ICC in the fight against impunity, encouraged the continuing mainstreaming of child protection into the policies and programmes of pertinent regional organisations and the importance of engaging armed forces and armed groups on child protection concerns during peace talks.
On 18 June, the Council received a briefing (S/PV.6981) in consultations by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, and by the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda). In light of recent developments, Mitri touched upon the security situation in Libya, the impact of the recently approved political isolation law and the regional challenges the country is currently facing. Gasana informed the Council that Libya had decided to designate a focal point structure for military procurement as recommended in the latest report of the Panel of Experts assisting the Committee (S/2013/99). On 20 June, the Council issued a press statement expressing its concern about the recent acts of violence in Benghazi, as well as the continued arbitrary detentions without access to due process of thousands of persons held in illegal detention centres (SC/11042).
Conflict Prevention and Natural Resources
On 19 June, the Council held an open debate on conflict prevention and natural resources (S/PV.6982). A concept note by the UK was circulated on 6 June (S/2013/334). The Council was briefed by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel Kofi Annan, World Bank Managing Director Caroline Anstey and UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan. In addition to Council members, 27 member states and the EU also participated. A presidential statement, which had been under negotiation for several days, could not be agreed by the Council, largely due to an objection by Russia that the subject matter was not within the purview of the Council.
Women, Peace and Security
On 24 June the Council adopted resolution 2106 focusing on accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict and stressing women’s political and economic empowerment as central to the long-term prevention of sexual violence. The resolution was adopted at a ministerial-level open debate presided by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and following briefings by the Secretary-General and the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict. Jane Awywar, on behalf of the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice, and Angelina Jolie, as Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also participated (S/PV.6984).
On 26 June, Council members received a briefing by peacekeeping head, Hervé Ladsous, and force commanders Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (Brazil) of MONUSCO, Major General Leonard Muriuki Ngondi (Kenya) of UNMIL and Major General Muhammad Iqbal Asi (Pakistan) of UNOCI. The briefing focused on the use of advanced military technology in peacekeeping, the need for in-mission assessments of pre-deployment training and inter-mission cooperation (S/PV.6987).
On 27 June the Council adopted resolution 2108 renewing UNDOF for six months after meeting with troop-contributing countries on 13 June and considering the Secretary-General’s latest report on the observer mission during 18 June consultations (S/2013/345). Earlier in the month, the Council issued a press statement on 6 June condemning clashes between the Syrian government and armed opposition in the area of separation between Israel and Syria (SC/11027). The next day, 7 June, Council members were briefed in consultations by DPKO following these clashes and Austria’s subsequent announcement that it would withdraw its troops from UNDOF.
On 27 June, the Council held a “wrap-up session” for June under the agenda item “Implementation of Note S/2010/507 (Wrap-up Session)”. Non-Council members were invited to attend the private meeting.