On 5 July, Australia and Luxembourg withdrew a draft press statement on the Syrian government’s siege of Homs after three days of negotiations that were not able to address the objections raised by Russia. On 16 July, the Council was briefed on the humanitarian situation in Syria by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Simonovic on behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (S/PV.7000). All three underscored that the solution to the Syrian crisis was political and not military. Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey also participated. Amos said that humanitarian organisations had not been able to gain consistent and unimpeded access to the 6.8 million Syrians in need. She called for a mix of approaches to address the humanitarian crisis, including cross-border operations as appropriate. Guterres said there were nearly 1.8 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries with two-thirds of them having fled since the beginning of 2013, a rate not seen since the Rwandan genocide. Simonovic said that serious human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity were now the rule in Syria with several reports of massacres by the government and affiliated militias. He called for the supply of weapons to both sides to stop and for the Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC. On 26 July, Council members met with the leadership of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) in a closed Arria Formula session organised by the UK. The delegation included the head of the SNC, Ahmad Jarba, the representative to the US, Najib Ghadbian, as well as Burhan Ghalioun and Michel Kilo. The SNC delegation communicated its willingness to participate in peace talks with the Syrian government insofar as the outcome of Geneva I—the 30 June 2012 communiqué outlining a political transition—was the basis for Geneva II. Separately, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the head of the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria, addressed the General Assembly on 29 July.
On 8 July, the Council held a briefing and consultations on the most recent report on UNMISS (S/2013/366). Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNMISS, provided the briefing (S/PV.6993). On 11 July, the Council adopted resolution 2109, extending the mandate of UNMISS until 15 July 2014.
UNOWA (West Africa)
On 10 July, the Council received a briefing (S/PV.6995) from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and head of UNOWA, Said Djinnit, on the most recent UNOWA report (S/2013/384). In his remarks Djinnit updated the Council on UNOWA’s work in the region, especially assisting the UN mission in Mali and seeking a timetable for elections in Guinea. Additionally, Djinnit touched on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, terrorism, and progress on boundary demarcation between Cameroon and Nigeria.
On 11 July, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members on the latest MONUSCO report (S/2013/388). On 19 July, the Group of Experts assisting the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee officially presented their interim report to the Committee (S/2013/433). The chair of the 1533 Committee, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev (Azerbaijan), briefed Council members in 22 July consultations on the Committee’s activities. On 25 July, US Secretary of State John Kerry presided over a debate on the Great Lakes and the DRC (S/PV.7011 and Resumption 1). The Secretary-General, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (via video-teleconference) briefed the Council. Robinson’s briefing focused on her recent report on the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC (S/2013/387). The US circulated a concept note prior to the debate to guide discussion (S/2013/394). In addition to the DRC, representatives of Belgium, Burundi, Congo, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, the AU and the EU also participated. During the debate, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2013/11) calling on the DRC and the countries of the region to implement promptly, fully and in good faith, their respective commitments under the Framework agreement. The Council also called on all countries of the region not to tolerate or provide assistance or support of any kind to armed groups.
On 14 July, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 13 July attack on UNAMID that resulted in the death of seven Tanzanian peacekeepers (SC/11060). On 24 July, the Council held a briefing (S/PV.7010) and consultations on UNAMID. The AU-UN Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator Mohamed Ibn’ Chambas briefed Council members on the latest Secretary-General’s report on UNAMID (S/2013/420). On 30 July, the Council adopted resolution 2113 extending the mandate of the mission for an additional year.
On 15 July the Council received a briefing in consultations from Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Lisa Buttenheim on the most recent report of the Secretary General on UNFICYP (S/2013/392). Speaking at the media stakeout following the meeting, Security Council President Rosemary DiCarlo related that Buttenheim had discussed UNFICYP’s efforts to maintain stability, to address humanitarian issues, and to encourage bi-communal contacts. According to DiCarlo, Buttenheim also emphasized the need for opposing sides to desist from challenging UNFICYP’s authority inside the buffer zone. On 30 July the Council adopted resolution 2114, extending the mandate of UNFICYP for six months. Azerbaijan and Pakistan abstained from voting on the resolution.
UNRCCA (Central Asia)
On 15 July, Council members received the semi-annual briefing in consultations by Special Representative and head of UNRCCA Miroslav Jenca. Council members issued a press statement reaffirming “the importance of the use of preventive diplomacy and early warning mechanisms by the United Nations to assist in the peaceful settlement of disputes” (SC/11061). They also stressed the importance of regional cooperation between the Central Asian States, UNRCCA and regional organisations.
On 15 July, Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia), the chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, presented the 90-day briefing on the Committee’s work to the Security Council (S/PV.6999). He reported that members were still divided over whether recent ballistic missile launches, the so-called “Great Prophet” exercises, were in violation of resolution 1929.
The Council received its final briefing from Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq Martin Kobler on 16 July (S/PV.7002). In the briefing, Kobler detailed many of the findings of the most recent UNAMI report (S/2013/408) and emphasised four key issues for the future of Iraq: the full implementation of the constitution; the equitable distribution of the country’s resources; the protection of Iraq’s environment; and the importance of providing opportunities to Iraq’s women and youth. Kobler concluded his service as Special Representative on 22 July, and at press time no replacement had been announced. On 24 July, the Council adopted resolution 2110, extending the mandate of UNAMI until 31 July 2014.
On 16 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2013/10) on the Sahel, following its discussion on the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel presented to the Council in June (S/2013/354). The presidential statement reaffirmed the Council’s concern about the alarming situation in the region as well as the complex security and political challenges interlinked with humanitarian and developmental issues. It also welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel to develop the Strategy, highlighted the need for a coordinated approach by all concerned UN entities in its implementation and stressed the importance of regional and interregional cooperation to address the threat of terrorism. The Council requested the Secretary-General to keep it informed of the progress in implementing the strategy no later than 31 December 2013, and to present a written report no later than 30 June 2014 (S/PV.7001).
On 18 July, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous (S/PV.7004) on the most recent UNOCI report (S/2013/377) followed by consultations. Ambassador Youssoufou Bamba (Côte d’Ivoire) also participated. The briefing focused on the areas of security sector reform; disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration; justice and reconciliation; and the security situation. On 30 July, the Council adopted resolution 2112 renewing the mandate of UNOCI until 30 June 2014. The resolution mandated the reduction of the mission’s military component by 30 June 2014 and expressed the Council’s intention to consider a further reduction by 30 June 2015. The Council also requested the Secretary-General to refine the broad benchmarks presented in his latest report to include detailed and actionable objectives to measure progress as well as a detailed report reflecting the current division of labour between UNOCI and the UN country team.
On 22 July, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of BNUB, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, and the head of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Burundi configuration, Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), briefed the Council (S/PV.7006). Ambassador Herménégilde Niyonzima (Burundi) also participated. The briefings were followed by consultations.
On 23 July, the Council was briefed by Special Coordinator Robert Serry prior to its quarterly open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.7007). Serry focused his comments on US diplomatic efforts toward the resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestine which have been largely suspended since 2008 with the exception of brief talks in late 2010. He also underscored that the humanitarian and security situation in Gaza should not be forgotten, particularly in the wake of the current transformations in Egypt. Serry also briefly addressed developments in Syria, Lebanon, the Golan Heights and Egypt.
On 24 July, the Council adopted resolution 2111 reauthorising the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 25 November 2014 (S/PV.7009). Resolution 2111 also renewed the humanitarian exemption in Somalia until 25 October 2014, reminded the Government of Somalia regarding its reporting obligations for arms imports, added UNSOM and the EU Training Mission in Somalia to the list of entities exempted from the arms embargo, expressed concern about continued violations of the charcoal export ban, and covered issues of mismanagement of public finances and corruption. Previously, Ambassador Kim Sook (Republic of Korea), chair of the 751/1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, addressed Council members in consultations on 18 July. The Monitoring Group’s report on Somalia (S/2013/413) and the report of the Emergency Relief Coordinator (S/2013/415) were transmitted to the Council on 12 July, while the Monitoring Group’s report on Eritrea (S/2013/440) was not transmitted to the Council until 24 July (after an objection by Russia had delayed its publication). Council members also received the latest AMISOM report (S/2013/371) on 21 June, though it was not discussed in any of the Somalia-related meetings in June. The Council issued a press statement on 29 July condemning the suicide car bomb attack against the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu (SC/11080).